As symptoms diminish and as suggested by the child’s doctor, parents can begin slowly reintroducing regular cognitive activity in the child’s daily routine.

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Returning a child to school

The medical field has not developed guidelines for determining when a student is ready to return to school.8 Even if the child has been cleared to return to school by their physician, he or she will need time to readjust to the pace and environment.

    Seek extra help and accommodations. Symptomatic students may require extra help and accommodations in school. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests that children and teens returning to school after a concussion may need:9

    • Time off from school, half-days rather than full days, or shortened class periods
    • A reduced homework load
    • Extra time to complete assignments and tests
    • Help with time management and organization
    • Exemption from significant tests, including standardized tests

    These accommodations may be gradually decreased as the student’s brain function improves.

    Keep other caregivers informed. Teachers, coaches, counselors, and other adults who interact with the child regularly should be informed about the concussion and what they can do to support the child’s recovery process, including any necessary classroom accommodations. These adults can help the patient ease back into day-to-day activities.

    Caregivers and other adults may also be able to help monitor for prolonged or worsening symptoms. Parents should be informed if uncharacteristic behavior, confusion, or difficulty making decisions is noticed. Any changes from their typical emotional state are important to note.

Parents cannot always be with their child to monitor for setbacks and symptoms. Communicating with teachers, coaches and other adults in the child’s life can help ensure a smooth transition.

References:

  1. Harmon KG, Drezner JA, Gammons M, Guskiewicz KM, Halstead M, Herring SA, Kutcher JS, Pana A, Putukian M, Roberts WO. American Medical Society for Sports Medicine position statement: concussion in sport. Br J Sports Med. 2013 Jan;47(1):15-26. doi: 10.1136/bjsports-2012-091941. Review. Erratum in: Br J Sports Med. 2013 Feb;47(3):184. PubMed PMID: 23243113.
  2. Heads Up to Schools: Know Your Concussion ABCs. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/concussion/pdf/TBI_factsheets_PARENTS-508-a.pdf. Accessed October 2014.
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