Monday, September 29, 2008

Missing: 90,000 Children with Traumatic Brain Injuries Each Year

Nationwide Statistics show that there are far more cases of Emergency Room- verified Traumatic Brain Injury in children than there are identifications of TBI disabilities in schools, according to Karen McAvoy, Ph.D. and Judy Dettmer, Ph.D.
In a 2-day workshop on "RTI, Assessment, & Special Education Process for Students with Traumatic Brain Injury", I found some very interesting information that I am passing on to you with our colleagues' permission.
Our trainers shared that TBI, has been classified as a low incident disability. But when you look at the ramifications of nation-wide statistics from the U.S. Dept. of Education, The National Center for Disease Control and the National Pediatric Registry, the data tells an interesting story...

National Data:
The National Center for Disease Control states that there is an annual average of 435,000 Emergency Room visits, 37,000 hospitalizations and 2,685 deaths among children due to TBI. This number only identifies those who had the injury reported and were admitted to a hospital. It does not include injuries where the child remained under care at home and did not receive formal medical treatment or where the patient was released without a TBI diagnosis. Because the actual number is low due to the non-reported incidents, experts think that the actual number could be closer to 1.4 million children with TBI injuries a year.
The U.S. Department of Education has said that there is an average of 475,000 TBI injuries among children a year. Their data shows that during the 1991-1992 school year, there were a total of 4, 499,824 students receiving special education. Out of that total, only 245 were served under a TBI disability category.
During the 1999 -2000 school year, 5,683,707 students were receiving special education services and of that total, 13,874 children were served under the TBI disability category. 2005 data shows that out of 6,021,462 students receiving special education services, there were 23,449 TBI students.
The above statistics show an increase in children served under the TBI category from 1991 to 2005, and according to the speakers at our conference, there was a lot of hard work done in building awareness about TBI in the school sector during those years.
It is interesting to note though that in 1991, Autism received its' own disability category and in 1992 there were 15,302 students identified. By 2005, there were 192,643 students identified as having autism. There were around 170,000 more identified students for autism than TBI.
In Oregon, 2006 statistics show 1008 students hospitalized for TBI. Oregon had 269 identified students that year.
The National Pediatric Registry reports that 19% of youths who sustain a brain injury will have long term disabilities. Reviewing the data from USDOE and using the 19% guideline, we could conservatively estimate that 19% of 475,000 average reported injuries a year leave us with 90,250 a year nationally. If in 1991 there were 245 children identified, what happened to the other 90,005 children? The presenters asked us, "Are we missing 90,000 students with brain injuries?" and more importantly, "Why are we not identifying these children?"

I will share tomorrow on some possible reasons for identification issues as well as some of the charateristics of TBI for those of you who might like to learn more about TBI. I will also share some AT ideas during the week as well.

All the best to you!


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