National Collaborative on Childhood Brain Injury: Current Efforts to Address Critical U.S. Public Policy Issues


The National Collaborative on Children’s Brain Injury (NCCBI) is a national group of advocacy group leaders, pediatric brain injury researchers, neurorehabilitation professionals, state Department of Education personnel, and federal agency representatives working to improve services and supports for children with brain injury. 

Because of shortened hospital stays and the chronic problems arising from childhood brain injury, schools have become the primary service provider for children and adolescents with TBI. However, not all children who experience brain injury are diagnosed and many do not receive brain injury rehabilitation. The effects of untreated brain injury can significantly alter the course of a child’s life. Even though the effects of brain injury may not be immediately obvious, there may be impairments that won’t emerge until years later, when those skills or abilities are more highly demanded. These children may end up with learning disabilities, not keeping pace with their age peers, and may be more at risk for involvement with the mental health system, drugs and alcohol, and the juvenile justice system.

In order to address several key policy issues and improve services and supports for children with brain injury, NCCBI is currently focusing on 3 initiatives. Dr. Stephen Hooper will discuss an analysis of incidence and prevalence of brain injury as it relates to identification of students with brain injury. This presentation will demonstrate the discrepancy between TBI data, estimates of long term disability due to TBI, and the actual numbers of students with TBI identified in each state.

Dr. Karen McAvoy will summarize guidelines for designing effective school programs for children with mild TBI/concussion, with a focus on establishing best practices for returning to school post-injury. She will present findings from a suvey of national experts on effective approaches to “”returning to learning.””

Dr. Ann Glang will provide an overview of the third NCCBI initiative, describing a framework for building
statewide educational infrastructure to improve outcomes for childrren with brain injury, including screening, identification, and assessment; brain injury education of school staff; tracking students’ progress over time; and focusing on facilitating transitions at key points in the students’ educational careers. Data from several recent surveys of educators, university training programs and state special education leadership will be presented.


  • The participant will be able to describe the factors that result in under-identification of children with brain injury.
  • The participant will be able to demonstrate a wide variety of decisions and options for assisting children in returning to school and becoming successful in their learning careers after sustaining concussion.
  • The participant will be able to describe the elements of infrastructure that schools need to have in place to optimize education for children with brain injury.
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