There is an immediate need for educational services for youth with brain injury. A recent survey conducted by SJBF of over 800 physicians, psychologists, allied health practitioners, special education professionals and families about service gaps for individuals with brain injury ages 25 and under found the following:
1. 77% indicated that services to help individuals re-integrate into their schools and communities are lacking, partially exist, or need improvement.
2. 78% indicated that long-term care services, including access to special education, are lacking, partially exist, or need improvement.
3. 75% indicated that the amount of evidence-based research available to guide their professional practice is lacking, partially exist, or need improvement.
Nowhere is this need more pressing than in New York City—the largest metropolitan area in the country by population. Nearly half the total population of New York State lives in New York City. Over eight million residents live within the five boroughs. One-third of NYC residents—or nearly 2.8M—are age 24 and under.
On average, over 26,000 NYC children under the age of 19 enter emergency rooms each year because of an acquired brain injury, and of those, approximately 1,400 are hospitalized. The boroughs of Queens, Kings, Richmond and the Bronx all have very high rates of hospitalization for unintentional TBI, ranging from 88 to 111 per 100,000 people.
At least one in five children hospitalized for TBI will require ongoing special education supports, including specialized private school programs. These statistics indicate that between 250 and 275 new NYC students will need highly specialized educational services each year as a result of their brain injuries resulting in over 3,000 students at any time in the school system. Unfortunately, even if these youth are appropriately diagnosed and referred for private special educational placement, finding an appropriate school in NYC will be a challenge.