Why do you need SmartResponse?

“My daughter Maria went skiing for the first time a few weeks ago.  She was really looking forward to it.  Next thing I know her friend’s father – who took them on the trip – calls to say she had fallen and hit her head and needed to go to the hospital.  Thank heaven she was wearing a helmet and on the bunny slope.  She was diagnosed with a concussion.

We were focused on getting a medical clearance from our family doctor so Maria could return to school and not miss any classes, but when she got back to school, communication was lacking and we didn’t know what was going on.  She started having headaches and suddenly had difficulty reading and listening.  The school seemed utterly unprepared to support her and did not seem to know the concussion can affect learning.  This made things worse at the start, but after our insistence they worked with us and now Maria is doing better.

But it could have been a lot easier if they had been trained and knew about simple temporary accommodations. Had I known that the school really had no training, I would have gotten much more involved from the start.  Maria became upset and worried mainly because she didn’t understand what was going on. If the people in the school had a game plan, she would have avoided a very difficult period.  She’s still into her skiing though, something else for me to worry about!” – Joe Alonzo, New York

Community-Wide Learning Outcomes.

We now know that athletic concussion received inadequate attention in the past;  the first legislation regarding concussion training is not yet a decade old.  While “Return To Play” training for coaches, athletic trainers and medical professionals is critical for the proper immediate response to a head injury and has become highly organized, the next steps in recovery are also crucial for recovery and until now have received less attention.

The next steps for a student typically involve “Return To School,” the time when a concussion victim must adjust to the classroom and re-engage in educational and social tasks.  There is a critical need for training of educators who work with students at this time. This means that the learning community – faculty, staff and administrators – must be properly prepared in the required competencies and learning outcomes specific to their roles.  While the training for a given role is not extensive, educators must be familiar with the range of competencies necessary to provide appropriate support for students. Both general familiarity with the needs of students during the recovery period and specific knowledge of their own roles will allow educators to work together to in the interest of students and families.