Location of Thesis Examination

Room 1590 Elborn College

Degree

Master of Education

Program

Education

Supervisor

Dr. Alan Edmunds

Abstract

Acquired brain injury (ABI) results from trauma that causes temporary or permanent brain damage. Once critical medical issues are resolved, rehabilitation mainly involves learning and relearning, thus, schools play a critical role. The primary problem facing educators is the lack of appropriate school re-entry protocols to facilitate the transition from medical to educational settings. Without proper protocols, appropriate information is omitted, inappropriate decisions are made, and inadequate IEPs are developed (Glang, 2008). This study first looked at identifying any pre-existing school re-entry protocols through a detailed literature review, conducting a review of ABI specific medical and educational legislation, and contacting each Ontario school board's special education learning consultant to determine whether any protocols existed. Based on these investigations the data revealed that there were no pre-existing protocols. Due to this gap in the literature and practice, the study's main focus became constructing and evaluating an original school re-entry protocol. The protocol was designed through adherence to policy theory practices and accepted standards of practice found in the literature. To validate the content and structure of the protocol an evaluation was conducted by 13 special education experts using a combination of one-to-one interview(s) and a focus group discussion. Each of these professionals was identified as having prior experience working with children with ABI throughout the school re-entry process. The evaluators were all in agreement regarding the changes and additions made to the protocol post-evaluation and they felt that it would be particularly useful for educators who do not have any experience with the school re-entry process for children with ABI. The designed protocol appears to help bridge the gap between healthcare and education in the school re-entry process. Its application will be able to provide optimal learning environments for children with ABI that are free of barriers that have been documented to occur when protocols are not in place (Glang, 2008). The use of the designed protocol will also introduce more effective learning and/or behaviour management strategies that can maximize each student’s learning potential.

Key words: Acquired brain injury, paediatric ABI, school re-entry, school transition.