Child's name: Emily
Support Coordinator's name: Jennifer Kane
Location: Scotland West
When she was 9 years old, Emily underwent treatment for a brain tumour which left her with many challenges. Brain tumours and their treatment can cause acquired brain injury; the brain can be affected by measures taken to remove or reduce the tumour, such as surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Before her illness, Emily was happy in mainstream education and had a close group of friends.
The challenges Emily experienced following her treatment required support from a specialist education placement. When the Child Brain Injury Trust became involved with Emily and her family, they were both very frustrated about things at her new school. Emily was now 13 and did not enjoy secondary school, although she wanted to learn and be challenged, she felt misunderstood. Emily had many concerns and questions about her future and showed a real strength in expressing her views and advocating for herself. However, Emily struggles with her memory and so can struggle to remember information and become confused easily. Because of these memory challenges engaging in lessons and learning can be very difficult for Emily and so she requires additional support. Changing school to a specialist placement was difficult for Emily. Moving to another school can be difficult for young people following acquired brain injury as this often means moving away from their friend group. Young people can also find it difficult to understand the need for such a move- and can feel out of place in their new school. The family were looking for support with education, so that Emily could feel happy, supported and engaged at her new school.
Our Regional Child and Family Support Coordinator was able to offer emotional and practical support to Emily and her family. Two school awareness sessions were delivered to school staff; one general session to the whole staff team and another tailored to Emily’s needs delivered to her class teachers and in conjunction with a Clinical Nurse Specialist. This aimed to help staff understand the effects of Emily’s treatment, the challenges she experienced and how to support these difficulties in class. The Regional Child and Family Support Coordinator was also able to advocate at several school meetings, to support the school to implement appropriate strategies and to advocate for Emily and her family. Emily and her family were further supported by resources from the Child Brain Injury Trust including the All About my Brain resource which aims to help young people understand ABI, and the Brain Injury Information Card. Emily and her family also attended one of our family events, which provided a fun opportunity for the family to spend time together, and to meet others with shared experiences.
Following support from the Child Brain Injury Trust and the team around Emily, things have improved greatly. Emily is much less frustrated and now enjoys school. She is benefitting from extra catch-up periods in school to revise information, amongst other support. School now have a greater understanding of Emily’s needs and how to support these and are seeing a significant difference in Emily. Emily and her family are looking ahead to the future.