Posted on September 16, 2011 · Posted in TBI Voices
This entry is part 14 of 24 in the series Nancy

Pediatric Brain Injury: Nancy Part Fourteen 

Because of her severe pediatric brain injury, Nancy got tutoring instead of returning to the 4th grade.  But at the beginning of the next  year, even with her pediatric brain injury, she went back to school.  This interview was done in May of 2011.

Is she still in high school?

Yes, she’ll be graduating this – at the end of May, beginning of June.

Has she actually achieved equivalent milestones in her education or are they just kind of helping her?

No, she has met all of her requirements for graduation with passing flying colors with modifications in math and language.

What kind of accommodations did she need when she went back to school after her pediatric brain injury?

Well we were all pretty silly at that point in time, too.  We didn’t realize she couldn’t handle a full day of school and the poor fifth grade teacher when she went back called us and said she – you got to, you got to pick her up.  I feel so bad.  She’s just lost.

We got her back in school in September and she was still pacing.

Had she recovered from her second surgery after her pediatric brain injury?

Yes.  She looked really good.  She had this really funky – not a Mohawk but – what do you call it – a mullet.  She had real short spikes were coming in here and her hair was really long in back and, she had a very hard time.

She couldn’t sit in a class.  She wasn’t doing anything destructive.  Of course it was annoying to maybe the other students but then the teacher was great about pulling the classroom up just a little bit so that she had a walk area in the back so she could pace and not be in the front of the class and not interfere with anybody else’s learning and that was my big thing.  I didn’t want her to interfere with learning.

If she has questions and she needs the extra help that’s great.  She deserves it but I don’t want it to be where she’s annoying other students or, you know, causing their learning time to be interrupted.  He worked with her quite well.  I mean all the teachers at that Saint Germaine School went to extra education, went to the traumatic brain injury courses that they had for teachers through the CESA District, both 1 and 2, the special ed teacher, the speech teacher and her classroom teacher and I think there was another teacher that went and they all learned all of this and changing school they only go through K through 5 at that school and then the rest of the schooling is done with the middle school and high school and they go wherever.

She used to have a paraprofessional that started with her and now she’s, she’s on her own.  She’s been on her own.  Doesn’t mean it’s the most appropriate of choices on the school’s part but…

What are her grades like after her pediatric brain injury?

A’s and B’s.

Do you think she’s earning those grades not getting a break because of her pediatric brain injury?

According to the staff that, the, she has A’s and B’s in the classes that she tries.  Uh, she had a,  an English level that was a little high, I thought, for her.  But we wanted to try it, see what she could accomplish on her own.  But the homework was horrendous and she usually shuts down about 6:00 at night, 7:00 at night.

Saint Germaine is how big? Two thousand people?

No, I don’t think it’s that big.  I would say it’s smaller.  Of course in the summer it quadruples or whatever you want to say.  Very small.  All right, her class her actually classroom size was 17 or 18 kids.

How big would her high school graduating class be?

A lot bigger because there’s three other grade school classes that are coming together. I would say over 100.

So it’s a community of a few thousand people if you talk about the whole school district.


Does she have difficult periods with because of her pediatric brain injury – in terms of getting along with other students or did the community rally around and the kids understand enough about herpediatric brain injury  that they, didn’t pick on her?

 I think initially when she came back with the Saint Germaine group she wasn’t picked on.

Does she have problems with fatigue because of her pediatric brain injury?

Yes.  When she starts getting tired there’s, then the emotions just…

Is there any accommodation made to try to give her breaks during the school day, rest, naps, any of that?

Yes, she has had times built in because she has resource times with the special ed classroom and the teacher and that’s where they try to do a little catch up with homework.  And that’s where she can do some unwinding at the same time,  privileges, magazines to read or go on the internet or if she wants to just rest in the, on the futon or the beanbag chairs, they’re welcome to do that.

Next in Part Fifteen – Perspective of Severe Pediatric Survivor on School and Graduation

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