PhD project title and outline, including interdisciplinary dimension:
International comparison of health and academic outcomes in children and youth with brain injuries
Aims: To utilise existing school incident reports to identify hidden cases of brain injury; to investigate the impact of brain injuries, and subsequent reductions in health, on educational outcomes.
Brain injury is a hidden, and often under-identified disability, which can have significant and negative effects on a child’s educational attainment (Gabbe et al., 2014; Williams et al., 2008). The severity spectrum extends from severe to moderate and mild with even mild injuries resulting in social, cognitive and emotional impairment (Gioia et al., 2015; McKinlay et al., 2002). These difficulties may result in reduced academic achievement and a poorer school experience. We propose to utilise existing school incident reports to identify hidden brain injuries in three international contexts. A random sample of schools from Northern Ireland, Oregon USA (Supervisor Professor Glang, Special Education, University of Oregon), and Canterbury New Zealand (Supervisor Dr McKinlay, Clinical Neuropsychology, University of Canterbury), will be selected for review of incident reports. The Brain Injury Screening Index (BISI) will be utilised to identify incidents which may have resulted in brain injury. This identification will be compared to subsequent special educational provision to determine whether students have received a diagnosis of brain injury. Existing datasets will also be employed to examine trends across regions and across time. The successful student will travel to Atlanta, USA to work with our non-HEI partner (Dr Haarbauer-Krupa; Senior Health Scientist, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) on an existing dataset of educational and health outcomes in children with disabilities. This will be compared to the Christchurch Health and Development Study dataset which utilises cohort data from over 1200 children. This comparison will allow us to show the impact of brain injuries on subsequent health and academic outcomes.
Primary supervisor: Dr Mark Linden (Nursing and Midwifery)
Secondary supervisor: Dr Helen Kerr (Nursing and Midwifery)
External Partner/Organisation: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention