Our brains are finely tuned to help us learn, but concussion or Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), can actually alter how a person thinks and what pathways their brain utilizes during problem-solving. Sometimes this is a short-term problem, and at other times a longer-term plan to help and accommodate to students is required. After an injury such a TBI or even mild concussion, many individuals complain about frequent headaches, nausea or severe fatigue during the recuperation process. As a result of this, it often takes time, and specific targeted methods are needed in order to re-acclimate the brain to the tasks that school and ‘real life’ require. Sometimes, students, their families and teachers find themselves in an unexpected vicious cycle. Some of the common symptoms of Post-Concussion Syndrome (PCS) show up at school or workplace, while others are more pronounced at home. These can include difficulty in making up missed work, physical and cognitive fatigue, visual exhaustion, difficulty holding onto details in ‘working memory,’ reading or using a screen for extended time, organizing writing, and executing tasks in an effective and efficient way (“Executive Functions”). Concussion and brain injury are much less common than developmental learning issues such as ADHD and Dyslexia. Therefore, schools often mean well but are less experienced at working with students and families to accommodate and educate these students. They may not be aware of the methods and advocacy issues, such as modified coursework and test accommodations, that students with TBI and PCS require. Neuropsychological testing offers helpful information, but tests used for evaluations often are too brief to reflect the real-time transitions and extended demands, or the multitasking that school and workplace on a student with PCD or TBI. The course content is often much more sophisticated than what neuropsychological evaluations assess for, and as such “reading to learn” new material and assimilating complex content can be problematic and a discouraging process. Dr. Mannis partners with neuropsychologists, physicians, and other specialists to customize her methodology and help students manage the naturalistic demands and that they, their families and schools face. This may also include identifying appropriate medically-based standardized test accommodations that testing agencies sometimes deem appropriate but that some schools may not know how to properly request.
At Ivy Prep, we have worked with over 200 students to help them better manage learning, home and workplace demands with an eye toward ‘hard’ neurologic problems such as TBI, PCS, brain tumor or other cancer survivorship, seizure disorders, Lyme Disease, Neurofibromatosis, and strokes,among other conditions. We create a tailored approach to remediate the effects of a TBI, concussion, and these other neurologic disorders with an eye toward the individual goals, as well as short and long-term solutions. These strategies may be counterintuitive to approaches that work for non-affected peers. At school or in the workplace, we are trained to expect that students can learn strategies to overcome obstacles by adding rigor in a systematic way. But that “pushing through” isn’t always an option for students with neurologically-based functional problems. Powering through can aggravate and exacerbate the injury and also set a student up for feeling misunderstood, overwhelmed, then anxious or depressed. The brain needs rehabilitation and proper attention to recover — and Ivy Prep’s neuropsychological specialization allows for a proper recovery and targeted educational support. Dr. Mannis has coordinated with schools, concussion experts, and outside mental health or related specialists to develop and implement a proper action plan to help students with these conditions for over 30 years. Ivy Prep also assists in developing IEPS (Individualized Education Programs) or 504 (accommodation) programs for public schools, private schools, college, workplace and professional programs to ensure that students with a TBI and other neurologically-based issue receive the accommodations that they are entitled to, ones that minimally restrict their functioning, given the nature of their specific health and cognitive issues.