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scientific articles

Integrated Psychology Support and Comprehensive Cognitive Evaluation Improves Access to Special Education Services for Children With Sickle Cell Disease

key information

source: Pediatric Blood & Cancer

year: 2019

authors: Ghafuri DL, Sanger M, Rodeghier M, DeBaun MR


Children with sickle cell disease (SCD) are at risk for cognitive deficits. Limited data describe whether comprehensive cognitive evaluation improves education resources and whether caregivers perceive the assessment as beneficial. We tested our two hypotheses: (a) an integrated comprehensive cognitive evaluation program in children with SCD results in increased special education services allocation; and (b) caregivers will value comprehensive cognitive evaluation services provided.

In a tertiary care medical facility, as part of quality improvement project, in a before-and-after evaluation between March 2011 and July 2014, we examined the impact of targeted comprehensive cognitive evaluation on change in special education services. We also evaluated the caregiver’s perception regarding the utility of the provided services.

A total of 21% (42 of 196) students (median age 11 years, range 3-18) with SCD were referred for cognitive assessment due to overt stroke (n = 11), silent stroke (n = 14), or concerns about cognitive or academic functioning without evidence of strokes (n = 17). At baseline, 45.2% received special education services and after the comprehensive cognitive evaluation 86.7% received special education services (P < 0.001). Among 33 caregivers who completed the survey, 97% reported that the assessment was helpful and 60% indicated that assessment led to beneficial changes for their children at school.

Education advocacy coupled with comprehensive cognitive assessment in students with SCD improved access to special education services, and caregivers uniformly endorse this service as having added value.

organization: Vanderbilt University Medical Center, USA; Rodeghier Consulting, USA

DOI: 10.1002/pbc.27755

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