Acquired neurological disorders commonly result in a complex set of physical, cognitive, behavioral, and affective disturbances, which require an integrated team approach to actualize a child's rehabilitation potential (Andrews, 2005; Naar-King & Donders, 2006; Prigatano, 1999; Ylvisaker et al., 2005). The need for an integrated rehabilitation team approach is most clearly seen in the acute care of children who have suffered significant brain injury, when not only cognitive deficits but also child behavioral and family dynamic issues must be considered (Michaud, Duhaime & Jaffe, 1999; Yeates et al., 1997; Wade et al., 2005). Assisting and involving families and teachers in the care of these children is an important part of such rehabilitation. This chapter summarizes the literature on integrated team approaches to the management of children with special healthcare needs, and also provides a description of a pilot neuropsychological intervention program for children with traumatic brain injury (TBI), from development to implementation and evaluation.
Support for an integrated approach
A substantial body of medical literature endorses the importance of an integrated, collaborative, cross-discipline approach in the assessment and management of children with special healthcare needs. This approach is necessary because of the broad spectrum of biomedical and psychosocial problems present in this population (Drotar, 1995; Haas, Gray McConnell, 1992). In addition to being consistent with family-centered care, interdisciplinary team approaches also allow for the integration of medical and psychological services.