A concussion is a type of mild brain injury that can occur from a hit to the head (e.g., fall, contact sports). In Ontario, as many as 1 in 70 emergency hospital visits is due to concussion. After sustaining a concussion, individuals may experience a variety of physical (e.g., headaches), mood (e.g., anxiety), and cognitive (e.g., attention and memory) problems. While these symptoms tend to resolve within a month for most individuals, some experience persistent symptoms that may last months or longer. These symptoms can significantly impact one’s quality of life. The Red Oak Centre offers a multi-disciplinary team of clinicians dedicated to helping children and youths recover from their concussion. The team is led by Dr. Lily Riggs, a neuropsychologist specialized in pediatric concussion, and includes Dr. Maline Glogauer (clinical psychologist) and Brittany So (occupational therapist).
Concussion services at the Red Oak Centre begin with a consultation with Dr. Riggs who will meet with you to obtain a history of your child’s background and discuss current symptoms and concerns. She will work collaboratively with you and your child to design a rehabilitation plan to help your child return to school, sports and the activities that they enjoy sooner. This may include:
- Assessment of cognitive, social and/or emotional problems
- Psycho-education around concussion including prognostic factors, symptom management strategies and recovery expectations
- Individualized "return to learn" and "return to play" guidelines
- Documentation for additional supports at school (e.g. academic accommodations)
- One-on-one therapy for mood/anxiety
- Implementation and practice of cognitive strategies
Brief Screening Assessment for Concussion
While these symptoms from a concussion tend to resolve within a month for most individuals, some experience persistent symptoms that may last months or longer. A brief screening assessment focuses on areas that are primarily affected in concussion and can help identify areas of need, assist in formulating an individualized return to school plan, and begin to disentangle different contributing factors including mood, social adjustment, and deconditioning. In contrast to psycho-educational and neuropsychological assessments, a brief screening assessment is significantly shorter and only includes 1.5-2 hours of testing (vs. 4+ hours) and it is not diagnostic (i.e. it is not sufficient to provide a formal diagnosis such as Learning Disability).
When is a brief screening assessment recommended?
A brief screening assessment is recommended when:
- Your child has sustained a concussion and are experiencing persistent (i.e. >1 month) cognitive problems that is having an impact on their everyday functioning at home and at school
- Since the concussion, your child has been experiencing increased learning difficulties and/or their grades have declined
- Your child did not have any pre-existing learning difficulties prior to the concussion. If your child had pre-existing learning difficulties prior to the concussion, these may now be more noticeable as concussion can exacerbate pre-existing problems. In this case, a full neuropsychological assessment is recommended so that a formal diagnosis can be made if warranted.