When 10-year-old Anson Mackay was left with a brain injury after being beaten over the head by one of his fellow primary school pupils, it was 10 months before he was well enough to return to a classroom. Huffington Post reports.
But when he and his mother Fay presented his new school in Aberdeenshire with a list of requirements to stop his discomfort from becoming overwhelming – such as his need to use cream-coloured paper, avoid very loud noises and inability to look at computer screens – they found themselves facing a series of hurdles to get teachers to implement them.
“It’s all about awareness,” Fay told HuffPost UK. “Anson comes out of school often enough very frustrated and says ‘I just wish I had a bandage around my head, because one week somebody might remember and the next week they’ve forgotten.’”
While Anson is now receiving some help from his teachers, Fay said she worries her son will be held back by a lack of understanding about his brain injury.
“He wants to sit his National 5 exams as he wants to be an engineer or an architect,” she said. “But it’s a worry, because they keep treating him like he has a learning difficulty, and he doesn’t.”
“Brain injury is a hidden epidemic in our country that needs action now,” said Labour MP Chris Bryant, chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for acquired brain injury.
“The evidence shows that when kids suffer blows to the head that result in brain injury but go untreated, they are less likely to do well at school, more likely to commit crime and more likely to have mental health difficulties, yet most teachers and sports coaches aren’t given the tools they need to spot these injuries and the NHS hasn’t freed up the resources to fix them.”
As well as calling for mandatory training for teachers in England on brain injuries and concussion, MPs believe automatically screening everyone entering the criminal justice system – and treating them appropriately – could also cut reoffending rates.
Would you be able to spot a child with concussion? Would you know what to do? Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin
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