Objective: To examine the prevalence of academic need, academic service utilization, and unmet need as well as factors associated with academic service utilization 6.8 years after traumatic brain injury (TBI) in early childhood.
Methods: Fifty-eight (16 severe, 14 moderate, 28 complicated mild) children with TBI and 72 children with orthopedic injury (OI) completed the long-term follow-up 6.8 years after injury in early childhood (ages 3-7 years). Injury group differences in rates of need for academic services, academic service utilization, and unmet need as well as factors associated with service utilization and unmet need were examined.
Results: Students with moderate and severe TBI had significantly greater rates of need than those with OI. A greater proportion of the severe TBI sample was receiving academic services at long-term follow-up than the OI and complicated mild groups however, among those with an identified need, injury group did not affect academic service utilization. Below average IQ/achievement scores was the only area of need predictive of academic service utilization. Rates of unmet need were high and similar across injury groups (46.2%-63.6%).
Conclusion: The need for academic services among patients who sustained a TBI during early childhood remains high 6.8 years post injury. Findings underscore the importance of continued monitoring of behaviors and academic performance in students with a history of early childhood TBI. This may be especially true among children with less severe injuries who are at risk for being underserved.
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