Brain Injury and Statewide Specialized Community Services (BI&SSCS) Technical Assistance Program for Schools
Each year, approximately 2,000 school-age children sustain traumatic brain injuries in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Often referred to as traumatic head injury, closed head injury, or brain trauma, the end result is a student who has sustained an injury to his or her head having a mild, moderate or severe effect on the brain. Even a "mild" traumatic brain injury (TBI) may leave a child with a host of cognitive, emotional, social and physical problems. Recent federal legislation recognized the unique educational needs of children with traumatic brain injuries. Educators throughout the Commonwealth are, therefore, faced with a newly identified special-needs population. Few teachers, however, have been trained or are experienced in working with children with TBI. Many of the common behaviors, emotions, and reactions that children have after a brain injury cause problems for them at school because they are misunderstood.
Brain Injury and Statewide Specialized Community Services can provide Technical Assistance and consultation pertinent to the educational needs of school-age individuals with traumatic brain injuries enrolled in public or private schools throughout Massachusetts. Technical Assistance (TA) is provided by a SHIP Special Education Consultant and/or a SHIP Consulting Neuropsychologist without cost to the school. School personnel or the parents of a child with a traumatic brain injury can request Technical Assistance from BI&SSCS.
BI&SSCS provides two distinct forms of Technical Assistance:
Programmatic (for all educational professionals): BI&SSCS consultants provide a general overview of the effects of TBI on school-age children focusing on those which most often impact school performance. General recommendations and suggestions are provided so that teachers can better plan for and work with children with TBI. Specific types of problems and behaviors may be discussed in this forum, but the needs of specific students cannot be identified, reviewed or discussed.
Consumer specific (regarding eligible individuals): BI&SSCS consultants address the educational needs of a specific student by reviewing clinical and educational materials and meeting with the team of school personnel working with the student. This form of TA is available for students who have been determined eligible BI&SSCS services. The BI&SSCS consultant can be involved in the IEP process, review plans or address specific problems or concerns identified by school staff, parents or others.
The purpose of the Technical Assistance Program for Schools is to assist school personnel in identifying and addressing the needs of students with traumatic brain injuries. As such, BI&SSCS and BI&SSCS consultants will not become involved in appeals to the Department of Education's Bureau of Special Education Appeals or intervene in disputes between a school and a student or their family regarding IEP's.
BI&SSCS staff and consultants cannot provide evaluations or direct services (e.g., counseling, cognitive therapy), as these services should be available through the Local Education Authority (LEA) or the student's health insurance. BI&SSCS staff and consultants can recommend, upon request, clinicians and services for which there is an identified need.
Requests pertaining to the BI&SSCS Technical Assistance Program for Schools can be made by calling 617-204-3852 or 1-800-223-2559 and asking to speak with the Service Coordinator for your region of the state.
Obtain information by calling (617) 204-3852 or toll-free (in Massachusetts only) 1-800-223-2559. TTY: (617) 204-3817. Or send an e-mail to SHIPU@MRC.state.ma.us.
This information is provided by the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission.