What is a concussion?
A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head that can change the way the brain normally works. Concussions can also occur from a blow to the body that causes the head to move rapidly back and forth. Even a "ding," "getting your bell rung," or what seems to be a mild bump or blow to the head can be serious (CDC.gov). Concussions are invisible injuries that can affect a person's mental stamina, causing the brain to work longer and harder to complete simple tasks. Mental and physical rest is essential to recovery from a concussion. Concussions affect every person differently, and the accomodations that are appropriate for one student with a concussion, may be different than appropriate accommodations for another student with a concussion.
What to expect when a student has a concussion, or is recovering from a concussion:
A concussion can affect a student physically, cognitively, and emotionally. Students who have experienced a concussion may have:
- Frequent or severe headaches
- Trouble sleeping
- Blurry or double vision
- Sensitivity to noise or light
Physical symptoms can have an impact on classroom learning and schoolwork by interfering with the student's ability to focus and concentrate.
Cognitively, students may:
- Have trouble remembering how they were injured or have other memory problems
- Become easily confused
- Have difficulty paying attention
- Feel "foggy" or have a slowness in thinking
- Slow reaction time
- Affect short term memory and working memory
- Slow cognitive processing speed
- Experience more difficulty at school than normal
Cognitive symptoms may impact the ability of a student to learn, memorize, and process information, and can impact their ability to keep track of assignments and tests.
Accommodations available to students with concussions:
Students who have had a concussion may recover quickly, or their symptoms may take longer to heal. In order to promote student learning, accommodations may be provided to students who have had a concussion. Accommodations are removed when the student no longer experiences symptoms. These accommodations include:
- Absence from school.
- Students with concussions frequently must avoid extensive computer use or "screen time" and may need to complete assignments without the use of a computer.
- Preferential seating: i.e. a seat near the front of the room, in a quiet area, or away from a window.
- Additional "rest breaks"
- Providing extra time on assignments and/or tests
- Professor or peer notes
- Recorded classes
Post Concussion Syndrome
Post concussion syndrome is a complex disorder where various concussion symptoms, such as headaches and dizziness, last for weeks or months after the initial injury. Some students that experience concussions may develop post concussion syndrome, and require long-term accommodations.
Students who have experienced a concussion are strongly encouraged to contact the Dean of Students Office regarding their injury, as this injury may impact class attendance and learning needs. If the effects of a concussion persist, students can discuss registering for accommodations and other support available through the Student Accessibility Services Office.
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