School Psychology Forum

Concussion Management in Schools
Volume 9, Issue 3 (Fall 2015 )

Editor: Steven R. Shaw


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  • Concussion Management in Schools: Issues and Implications

    By Angela I. Canto & Eric E. Pierson

    pp. 162—164

    ABSTRACT: The school psychology literature base is lacking in information and resources for working with students with traumatic brain injuries, and concussions specifically. This special issue includes five articles from school psychology based researchers committed to increasing the awareness of the identification, assessment, and intervention for students with concussions in schools, including a multisystemic and multitiered approach to service delivery.

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  • Trends in Traumatic Brain Injury Research in School Psychology Journals 1985–2014

    By Shannon M. Smith & Angela I. Canto

    pp. 164—183

    ABSTRACT: Every year, approximately 2.4 million people experience a traumatic brain injury (TBI), and nearly half a million children receive emergency medical attention from hospital personnel due to a TBI in the United States (Centers for Disease Control, 2010; Coronado et al., 2014). It is imperative for key stakeholders, including school psychologists, to have the skills, knowledge, and resources to work with students following a TBI. However, the topic has received limited attention in school psychology journals. In this article, general psychoeducation on TBI is provided to contextualize the nature and extent of the injury on students’ achievement and performance. Second, the results of a systematic review of the TBI-related publications in eight school psychology journals from January of 1985 to July of 2014 is presented to identify the trends in research and need for future research in the field.

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  • Returning to School After a Concussion: Facilitating Problem Solving Through Effective Communication

    By Kathy L. Bradley-Klug, Jeffrey Garofano, Courtney Lynn, Kendall Jeffries DeLoatche, & Gary Yu Hin Lam

    pp. 184-198

    ABSTRACT: Concussions are a major public health concern in the United States, especially among children and adolescents. Although there is a growing body of literature regarding the underlying physiologic processes that occur after a concussion, there is no consensus regarding the risk factors for a concussion or the reasons for significant differences in recovery. There is a paucity of research on the educational outcomes of students who sustain concussions because much of the current literature is based on adults and/or athletes. Researchers and practitioners are beginning to focus on youth with concussions with the goal of reducing incidence through prevention and facilitating recovery through accurate assessment and effective treatment. School psychologists can play a key role in prevention, assessment, and intervention through the implementationof a school-based concussion protocol. Effective communication between stakeholders is an essential component to this protocol, and is critical to the support and management of students who have sustained a concussion. The purpose of this article is to provide a review of the current literature on concussions in youth and present a school-based protocol that includes a stepwise progression for assisting a student to “return to learn” (Baker et al., 2014), integrated within a problem-solving model. The importance of effective interdisciplinary communication is emphasized throughout, and suggestions to enhance communication across stakeholders are presented.

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  • Navigating the Terrain in the Identification and Program Development for Children With Mild Traumatic Brain Injuries

    By David J. Chesire, Valerie A. Buckley, Susan L. Leach, Rebecca A. Scott, & Kamela K. Scott

    pp. 199—213

    ABSTRACT: Data indicate children with traumatic brain injury (TBI), especially those with mild TBI (mTBI), represent a significant population within the U.S. school system. Yet, many school professionals report little or no formal coursework for training on the needs of children post-TBI, have minimal or no experience working with children post-TBI, and subsequently are not comfortable working with students post-TBI. Though many children immediately return to school following an mTBI, research suggests the postinjury symptoms likely have an impact on the child’s ability to pay attention to, learn, and recall new information. These children may also experience affective and behavioral difficulties complicating academic engagement. Postinjury transition into school is facilitated when active reentry planning occurs. In an effort to improve the frequency with which students with mTBI are identified and served, this article presents a treatment model that employs a four-pronged approach: educating the community about mTBI, providing professional development to district staff, strengthening working relationships between the district and the medical community, and employing a districtwide monitoring system. The article also compares and contrasts multiple options that a school may employ to serve these children once identified, such as the school-based intervention team, a nursing plan, Section 504 plans, and an Individualized Education Plan. This examination of intervention options includes a case study interwoven throughout the discussion to enhance overall understanding and highlights the importance of protocol development to address the educational needs of students affected by the acute and long-term effects of an mTBI.

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  • Motor Deficits Following Pediatric Mild Traumatic Brain Injury: Implications for School Psychologists

    By Andrew S. Davis, Brittney Moore, Valerie Rice, & Scott Decker

    pp. 214—229

    ABSTRACT: Mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI), sometimes referred to as concussion, is one of the most common acquired neurological problems of childhood. When children return to school following mTBI, school psychologists should be actively involved in the determination of neurocognitive and functional deficits for the purpose of designing strength-based interventions in home and school settings. Simple and complex motordeficits are frequently seen in mTBI given the widespread involvement of cortical andsubcortical structures in the execution of motor activities. Concerns are present, however, that school psychologists do not typically recognize these deficits or appreciate the effect these deficits can have on the developing central nervous system and the potential to negatively affect academic, social, and emotional development. This article discusses the effects of mTBI on motor systems and development as well as the implications for school psychologists in regard to assessment and intervention.

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  • A Primer on Persistent Postconcussion Symptoms

    By Paul B. Jantz

    pp. 230—248

    ABSTRACT: The existence of persistent postconcussion symptoms (PPCS) is controversial, and there is ongoing debate as to whether the etiology of PPCS is psychogenic or physiogenic. In addition, there is a lack of agreement on diagnostic definitions of mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) and concussion and the terms are used interchangeably in the research literature. This can lead to confusion and make comparison of research findings on PPCS difficult. Having knowledge of factors related to PPCS can help inform school psychologists as they make decisions about students in the educational setting who report experiencing PPCS. This review will cover the definitions of mTBI and concussion, common postconcussion symptoms (PCS) and PPCS symptomology, and injury and noninjury factors related to PPCS. It will also discuss the implications for the practice of school psychology and list a number of related resources to help school psychologists better understand PPCS.

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  • Concussion Management in Your Schools: A Call to Action

    By Eric E. Pierson & Angela I. Canto

    pp. 249-250

    ABSTRACT: School psychologists are key professionals in assessment, intervention, prevention, and consultation across academic, behavioral, and emotional domains. Often, this includes working with injured or ill students. Given the high prevalence of concussions among children and adolescents, knowledgeable school psychologists are needed to work with these children.

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  • Integration of the WJ IV, WISC-V, WISC-V Integrated, and WIAT-III Into a School Neuropsychological Assessment Model

    By Daniel C. Miller

    pp. 251—268

    ABSTRACT: The Woodcock-Johnson-Fourth edition (WJ IV; Schrank, McGrew, & Mather, 2014a) and the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children-Fifth edition (WISC-V; Wechsler, 2014) are two of the major tests of cognitive abilities used in school psychology. The complete WJ IV battery includes the Woodcock-Johnson IV Tests of Cognitive Abilities (Schrank, McGrew, & Mather, 2014b), the Woodcock-Johnson IV Tests of Oral Language (Schrank, Mather, & McGrew, 2014b), and the Woodcock-Johnson IV Tests of Achievement (Schrank, Mather, & McGrew, 2014a). The Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children-Fifth edition Integrated (WISC-V Integrated; Wechsler & Kaplan, 2015) is to be published in the fall of 2015. The purpose of this article is to present how the tests from the WJ IV, the WISC-V, the WISC-V Integrated, and the Wechsler Individual Achievement Test-Third edition (Wechsler, 2009a) can be integrated into a school neuropsychological assessment model. The first section of the article discusses how the Carroll-Horn-Cattell theory is merging with contemporary neuropsychological theories. The second section of this article introduces a school neuropsychological conceptual model and illustrates how the tests from these batteries are classified according to that model.

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  • Exploring Neuropsychology: Seeking Evidence of Added Worth to School Psychology Practice

    By Kari A. Sassu, Nicholas W. Gelbar, Melissa A. Bray, Thomas J. Kehle, & Shamim Patwa

    pp. 269—276

    ABSTRACT: Historically, school psychological assessment has included the core elements of cognitive, academic, and behavioral indices. Neuropsychological assessment has included these and the additional elements of attention, memory, language, visual–spatial, motor, sensory, and executive functioning (American Psychological Association, 2006). With the increasing diversification of presenting challenges in the school-age population, questions arise regarding the empirically supported value added by these additional components as a standard part of the assessment battery. Both school-based and clinically based practitioners must critically consider these questions in order to arrive at answers that best serve the needs of children.

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