LEARNet: Unique Approaches in Addressing the Needs of Students with Brain Injury

Each year in the United States, more than 30,000 children become permanently disabled following a brain injury resulting from such incidents as falls, sports-related concussions, anoxia, stroke, and vehicular crashes. As a child gets older, that part of the brain previously damaged may not work as well as it should. Problems seen in children after brain injury include deficits or altered development in attention and concentration, memory, and organizational skills as well as changes in behavioral, social, and emotional functioning. The consequences may present significant challenges for parents and educators of children with brain injury who struggle to meet their unique needs. There are a variety of approaches that provide information about brain injury to educators and families, although resources for these support systems are extremely limited.

The Brain Injury Association of New York State is pleased to announce the implementation of Project LEARN: Living Education and Resources Network and LEARNet. Recognized by the Brain Injury Association of America’s State Award of Excellence in 2007, Project LEARN’s primary objective is to create and sustain competency for those supporting children with brain injury at home and at school by establishing an easily accessible, interactive, user-friendly web-based information and resource program.

LEARNet is designed to provide information and support to educators and parents of a student with brain injury. LEARNet provides a step by step, common-sense approach in determining the factors that contribute to specific problems that students with brain injury often experience. It then instructs users on effective intervention strategies illustrated by video demonstrations. The format and content of the site reflects input gathered across the state from families, students, educators, and experts in the field.

Resources provided on the LEARNet website include an extensive listing of literature, media resources, books, other helpful websites, and links to state and local programs; a comprehensive glossary of terms related to brain injury; information about the brain, how it works, and what happens when it is injured; and support materials, including short articles on a wide range of topics relating to life after brain injury.

Project LEARN and LEARNet offer a unique approach in addressing the needs of students with brain injury and the educators and parents who strive to meet them effectively. The projects provide invaluable information to help develop appropriate educational plans using proven interventions. As a result, frustration and exacerbation of problematic behaviors are minimized.

Developed and supported by BIANYS staff and a team of nationally recognized experts in the field of pediatric brain injury, LEARNet is available to the general public and state affiliates free of charge, by visiting http://www.projectlearnet.org/.User suggestions are welcome and encouraged; LEARNet continues to evolve in response to its audience.

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