Adolescents who sustain a brain injury have developmental and emotional needs that are distinct from adults who have experienced a brain injury.
Shepherd Center has more experience treating teenagers with these kinds of injuries than general rehabilitation facilities. Shepherd's adolescent program focuses on a healthy, quality lifestyle with the highest level of functioning and independence possible. It includes:
An interdisciplinary approach to addressing the teen patient's special need for independence, socialization, age-appropriate activities, security and privacy.
An emphasis on private rooms or rooming teen patients together
Education and training in self care, problem solving, self esteem, self-advocacy, drug and alcohol awareness, self-care and sexuality
Approximately 95 percent of adolescents in the brain injury program return to school within three to six months of discharge. Shepherd's treatment teams begin working with the patient's school from the day they enter the hospital. This helps therapists establish an individual's pre-injury academic status and integrate class assignments into treatment as recovery continues.
Neuropsychologists and speech therapists conduct comprehensive evaluations to identify cognitive deficits and create treatment goals. Goals can include improving reading comprehension, listening skills, speech, writing and memory. Shepherd Center also provides strategies for patients, families, teachers and classmates necessary to help overcome problems that could interfere with academic success.
Shepherd's back-to-school efforts continue even after discharge. For teens with brain injuries, a specially-trained speech therapist assists school systems in preparing individual education plans. This interaction enables the therapist to educate teachers and school administrators on cognitive, social and behavioral issues related to the injury.
What's more, teens may be followed for up to a year after discharge through Shepherd's Marcus Community Bridge Program, which helps ensure that rehabilitation goals accomplished at Shepherd Center are sustained and built upon.
Shepherd Center understands the need for adolescent patients to have positive peer interaction post-injury. Shepherd Center organizes teen "group time" that is dedicated to discussion of issues such as going out with friends, planning and organizing outings, and going back to school.
Educating family members about brain injuries and rehabilitation goes a long way in helping both the patient and the family adjust emotionally. A Shepherd Center psychologist with extensive adolescent treatment experience is available to meet with family members for this purpose.
Shepherd Center's community outings for teens, which include going to restaurants, shopping malls, sports arenas and even camping, promote problem solving and the experience of being out in the community in a supportive group. Therapists are always on hand to provide logistical and moral support.