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Possible Post-Traumatic Stress After Teen’s Auto Accident

Question:

My 15-year-old granddaughter was in a severe auto accident and sustained a traumatic brain injury. She recovered physically; she looks the same but does not act the same. After finishing rehab, she was able to go back to school, but she now does not want to go back. She missed much of her course work and is now a very angry young woman. Is there online schooling available? I cannot afford to pay tuition. What can I do for my granddaughter?

 

Answer:

Often, among the most difficult aspects of recovering from a trauma like your granddaughter has experienced is the mental and emotional pain. It is very possible that she is struggling with becoming “normal” again, which goes beyond the physical. She may look fine on the outside, but inside all kinds of emotional and mental pain may be churning.  

To regain a sense of normalcy, she will need to manage these thoughts and feelings. This is not easy to do. It is important to note that the people around her are not in a position to say that she has attained normalcy after her experience; she is the one who must feel like her life is back to normal. This is a challenge, but with the support of those around her she will be able to work through these issues and lead a happier life than she is living at present.

In addition to her physical therapy, did your granddaughter receive counseling to work through that anger, fear, depression and other feelings that the accident may have generated?  Has anyone in her family gone through counseling to be more informed on how to help her? Does she have support at school?  

She could be dealing with a form of post-traumatic stress disorder, which would best be treated by a mental health professional. A counselor could help her work through these concerns.  

Your concern about her schooling is a serious one. If you have not done so already, talk to her school’s counseling department to see if it has alternative programs that help students continue their education under certain circumstances. If so, see if your granddaughter would be a candidate. Online programs vary. If you provide Boys Town with your location information, we could help you search for services in your area. Call our hotline at 800-448-3000.

 

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