Department of Educational Psychology


Date of this Version

November 2005


Published, as Chapter 32, in Handbook of School Neuropsychology, edited by Rik Carl D’Amato, Elaine Fletcher-Janzen, and Cecil R. Reynolds (Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, 2005), pp. 721–737. Copyright © 2005 John Wiley & Sons. Used by permission.


Children who have suffered traumatic brain injury (TBI) or have neurological impairments due to disease, toxins, or genetic makeup present challenges that are best addressed by coordinated treatment and support activities among all their caregivers. Such systematic approaches to treatment, rehabilitation, teaching, and parenting are both complex to describe and difficult to create and maintain. The goal of this chapter is to focus on one of the key systems that affects children’s learning and behavioral adjustments: the interface between schools and families. Other Handbook authors have described specialized consultation to teachers needed to support their efficacy with children. This chapter offers information that psychologists can share with educators to inoculate educators to the unique stresses that families endure. Further, a particular approach to shared needs identification, goal setting, and problem solving is described so that educators and families can form a supportive team that enhances students’ success. Finally, some of the other activities that school and families can share, such as advocacy and family education and counseling, are explored.

The etiology of a learner’s neurological challenge is sometimes relevant to highlight given the different influences on recovery and on family functioning. Often, however, the educator is dealing with a child and family in need of help and support, wherein the etiology of the difficulty is unimportant. For this reason, we use the term “affected child” to refer to a child with neurological difficulties from any cause. If etiology does moderate intervention or outcomes, it is described specifically.