School systems are the primary providers of rehabilitative as well as educational services for students with brain injuries. For example, after a severe brain injury at age 10, a child/youth may receive three months of acute services in a medical/rehabilitation center, but will receive eight years of services in the school system—a ratio of 1 to 32. Yet, most in-school services are delivered by paraprofessionals with limited knowledge of the complex rehabilitative, medical, social and behavioral needs of students post-injury. Over 25,000 students with “mild” brain injuries/concussions are served within the NYC public school system during any given school year.
There are currently no nonpublic school programs in NYC specifically addressing children with brain injuries from Early Intervention through High School. Families must either choose generalist programs that serve students with a wide range of disabilities, or select a school that is well outside the city. It is important to note that brain injury is a highly distinct condition that does not mirror developmental disabilities or most other disabilities in its presentation or treatment. Effective instruction and treatment require specialized training and expertise.