Traumatic Brain Injury and Orthopedic Impairments

kid with head trauma
Photo By Sergey Mikheev/shutterstock

Many children have different health issues caused by brain and spinal cord injuries and brain tumors, as well as orthopedic impairments. I have written in previous blogs about children with Other Health Impairments (OHI) and explained that the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) uses (OHI) as one of the 14 classifications for children with chronic health issues.

There are two other classifications that are often used for children with health issues that impact their performance in school. They are Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and Orthopedic Impairments (OI). Children who suffer from TBI usually have a wide array of symptoms caused either by a brain injury or a brain or spinal cord tumor. Many sites explain the impact that a traumatic brain injury – including brain and spinal cord tumors – has on children and why school is so important to be able to navigate for the children. Families are often overwhelmed with so much to do.

All this can be daunting and the BEST person to speak to is your child’s physician about his/her condition. When you are trying so hard to advocate for your child in school, often it is important to consult with an educational consultant/advocate who understands what your child is entitled to.

Places to look for information on chronic conditions and expert consultants/advocates to help you can be challenging. I have put together some additional information that I think will be helpful to you:

One of the best general health care sites is This site has information for the child, the parents and the educators. It is a well designed site with good information.

One of the best resources is a publication from the New York State Department of Education called Traumatic Brain Injury: A Guide for Educators (1995) and reprinted in 2002. The guidebook is very comprehensive. It explains about children with brain injuries caused by accidents or brain and spinal cord tumors and is one of the most thorough books  on this topic. It can be ordered in a hard copy by calling the phone number in the guidebook. It is helpful to parents and educators and this book should be part of every school and parent library if they have a child with traumatic brain injury.

In addition, the Brain Injury Association of New York State (BIANYS) offers excellent information and they have developed LEARNET. On the LearNET website you will find an extensive listing of  issues common to brain injury (i.e., attention, self regulation, mental flexibility, and organizational problems), instructional videos on specific intervention strategies, verbal scripts that help youngsters succeed, a glossary of terms related to brain injuries, and pages geared toward children, parents and educators. LEARNET also provides linkages to the BIANYS network of family advocates/FACTS Program.

Another consultation/advocacy program for children with brain and spinal cord tumors is Making Headway’s On-Going Care Team.

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You may also refer to my previous blog for additional links on the Internet.

I hope you find this information useful. I look forward to starting a ‘Roadmap’ so that navigating the complex New York City educational system will become more manageable for you.

The purpose of this blog is to give parents accurate resources. It is not intended to replace speaking to your child’s doctors or healthcare team or educational advocates.

Patricia Weiner, MS is presently an educational consultant and advocate for Children with Special Health Care Needs (CSHCN) and academic challenges. She works for The Making Headway Foundation, is a private consultant and faculty mentor for graduate students at Bank Street College of Education in New York. Over the past 35 years, she has worked as a special educator, child life specialist, health-education specialist and has been the administrator of several programs. She has presented nationally on education and child life, published articles and chapters in child life text books, and has received several awards for child advocacy for this population of children.

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The views and opinions expressed on this blog are purely the blog contributor’s. Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer or provider. Writers may have conflicts of interest, and their opinions are their own.

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