Can a concussion affect your child ‘s academic performance? According to a new study it might, depending on two factors - the severity of the concussion and the grade level of your child.
A concussion is a brain injury caused by a fall or blow, jolt or bump to the head that causes the brain and head to move back and forth rapidly. While most recover from mild concussions quickly, the young and the elderly can have symptoms that last for days or weeks.
Researchers from the Children's National Health System, George Washington University School of Medicine and Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University studied 349 students ages 5 to 18 to find out what happened to their academic performance after concussions. They divided the students into those who were continuing to experience problems following head injuries and those who were fully recovered, and asked the students and their parents to fill out questionnaires about their academic performance.
The study found that the severity of the concussion symptoms was directly related to the degree of academic problems among all grade levels. Eighty-eight percent of the children who were not fully recovered still had problems with concentration, headaches and fatigue. Seventy-seven percent of those same children had problems taking notes and found themselves spending more time on homework and having problems studying for exams and quizzes.
High school students reported having the most learning problems, significantly more than middle or elementary school children.
The authors say that their findings suggest that school systems and medical professionals should be working together to support students who are still in the recovery phase.
"Our findings suggest that these supports are particularly necessary for older students, who face greater academic demands relative to their younger peers," the study's authors say.
The signs and symptoms of a concussion can be subtle and may not be immediately apparent. Symptoms can last for days, weeks or even longer.
The Mayo Clinic says that common symptoms after a concussive traumatic brain injury are headache, loss of memory (amnesia) and confusion. The amnesia, which may or may not follow a loss of consciousness, usually involves the loss of memory of the event that caused the concussion.
Signs and symptoms of a concussion may include:
• Headache or a feeling of pressure in the head
• Temporary loss of consciousness
• Confusion or feeling as if in a fog
• Amnesia surrounding the traumatic event
• Dizziness or "seeing stars"
• Ringing in the ears
• Slurred speech
• Delayed response to questions
• Appearing dazed
Some symptoms of concussions may be immediate or delayed in onset by hours or days after injury, such as:
• Concentration and memory complaints
• Irritability and other personality changes
• Sensitivity to light and noise
• Sleep disturbances
• Psychological adjustment problems and depression
• Disorders of taste and smell
Symptoms in infants and toddlers can be difficult to recognize because these little ones are unable to communicate how they feel. However, there are nonverbal clues of a possible concussion. These are:
• Appearing dazed
• Listlessness and tiring easily
• Irritability and crankiness
• Loss of balance and unsteady walking
• Crying excessively
• Change in eating or sleeping patterns
• Lack of interest in favorite toys
Concussions should always be treated seriously even when a child doesn’t seem to be showing physical or mental symptoms. If you suspect your child may have a concussion seek a professional diagnosis to make sure.
Sources: Sandee LaMotte, http://www.cnn.com/2015/05/11/health/concussions-academic-problems/index.html