Posted on September 19, 2011 · Posted in TBI Voices
This entry is part 15 of 24 in the series Nancy

Severe Pediatric Survivor: Nancy Part Fifteen 

Nancy was in the 4th grade when she got hurt, when we interviewed her, she was a month from high school graduation.  On the one hand, her grades were good. On the other hand, being a severe pediatric survivor her problems with education are significant:

Challenges in School Being a Severe Pediatric Survivor

Does anybody come help you do your math homework being a severe pediatric survivor?

Mom and dad, sometimes.

What homework do you have more trouble with? 

Math.  Ecology.

Math and ecology are very different subjects. Why do you have trouble with math? 

I’m not real good at it.

Were you good at math before you got hurt? 


What is hard about numbers. 

They have no meaning. You can ask me what’s 5 times 11 and I can tell you 55, but I’m not very good with division or subtraction.

Can you tell me what 6 times 11 is?  


Can you tell me what 12 x 12 is? 

I don’t know 12s.  I can’t do my 3s, my 4s, my 6s, my 7s, my 8s.

So what if we talk about numbers in more, meaningful subjects, like how many brothers are in the Jonas Brothers, you can handle that number, right? 


What, if you divide, if you put the Jonas Brothers in three different rooms, how many will be in each room? 


Okay, see, now that you can do in the division.  But that’s simple division. 


If you put numbers, into something that you’re interested in, for example, can you remember how many verses there are in their songs? 

No.  They don’t really write them down in their pamphlet things they give out with the CDs.

Do you have more difficulty with reading than you do listening being a severe pediatric survivor? 

Yes.   I haven’t touched a book since I was 9 years old.  Pretty much.  I don’t read for pleasure anymore.  I listen to music more often, I don’t read anymore, really.

Why is that? 

All my books are like for babies so they’re really boring to read.

Now you liked to read before you got hurt, do you remember that?  

Yeah.  I had every single Magic Tree House book on the planet.

Do you remember the plots of those books?  

Yes.  Jack and Ernie had to save Camelot.

You were reading those books when you got hurt? 


So you do remember some of what you learned just before you were a severe pediatric survivor? 


What you have trouble with is sorting out certain events?  


You going to graduate from high school in a month?   

Yes.  June 5th.

Are you happy to be leaving high school?



I’m sick and tired of the teachers nagging me; get this done, get this done, get this done, some of my teachers yell at me.


Because she doesn’t know any other way to vent or tell me that I have to do this so she yells at me instead.

Do you get good grades? 

Straight As.

Why are the teachers yelling at you if you’re a good student? 


Do you have to be prodded to get your homework done? 

All the time.

So who does the prodding? 


Your parents? 


Next in Part Sixteen – Going Through Teen Years After Severe Brain Injury

By Attorney Gordon Johnson


About the Author

Attorney Gordon S. Johnson, Jr.
Past Chair Traumatic Brain Injury Litigation Group, American Association of Justice :: 800-992-9447