Specialized Services

While most concussions resolve quickly and easily, some children and adults find themselves facing prolonged recoveries which include cognitive, emotional and behavioral changes.  Schools and physicians often struggle to determine the best ways to advise and support these families.  Certified athletic trainers receive special training in managing an athlete's return to the playing field only.  During her seven years at Hammond School, Dr. Ashley Harbin consulted national experts and clinical research to guide the development of Hammond's multidisciplinary Concussion Management Team and specific guidelines for a child's return to the classroom.  After returning to private practice, Dr. Harbin completed additional training to become a Certified Brain Injury Specialist and has been actively involved in state-wide advocacy through the Brain Injury Association of South Carolina and the South Carolina Brain Injury Leadership Council.  Dr. Harbin works closely with the medical team in order to provide the unique expertise needed to support these patients, their families, and the school in cases of complex concussions.

Both psychological and neuropsychological tests are used to identify specific brain-related problems like attention, processing speed, problem solving, or memory disturbances related to an injury or illness.  Although baseline data on an individual's cognitive and academic strengths and weaknesses are helpful, these may not always be available.  A thorough clinical evaluation and review of medical records is always the first step in this process.  Cognitive and emotional screening and further in-depth assessment are used at different points in a patient's recovery.  Each individual has strengths and weaknesses, and this evaluation process is intended to provide detailed information which can be used at home, at school, and in a more comprehensive rehabilitation plan.  Brain injuries can result in changes to a person's temperament, personality, behavior, and mood.  Psychological evaluations are used to assess a patient's emotional, behavioral, and social adjustment to an injury or illness for the sake of guiding therapy and other interventions.

Each patient and family react differently to a disabling injury or illness.  Even in the absence of a hospital stay, disruption of daily life and isolation from peers and activities can cause additional stress.  Dr. Harbin helps patients and their families adjust to these difficult life situations as well as treats preexisting mood, behavior, or school-related problems.  Therapy with a psychologist takes different forms depending on the needs of the patient, but always includes parent support and education. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is often a critical part of the treatment plan, particularly in terms of supporting healthy coping and adjustment to medical and environmental challenges. If medication is also needed to supplement a patient’s recovery, Dr. Harbin works closely with many of the best psychiatrists in Columbia to ensure effective coordination of care. Sharing an office with Spero Psychiatry, LLC, means that frequent communication and collaboration is easily maintained.

A brain injury or illness can interfere with a child or teenager, or college student's education, by taking time away from school due to absences and by causing thinking, learning, and behavior problems.  Dr. Harbin collaborates with teachers and other school staff in adjusting a student's school day and work load with individual strengths and weaknesses in mind.  She always asks families to provide specific points of contact at the school and releases of information so that she may work closely to monitor progress and support a student's needs both socially and academically in the school environment. Ideally, families provide open releases of information so that all of the members of a child's multidisciplinary treatment team are able to share information and work together. Finally, Dr. Harbin has experience helping patients and families understand the accommodations available on standardized testing (SAT, ACT, GRE, MCAT, LSAT) and preparing the documentation needed to apply for these types of supports. 

Dr. Harbin presents to groups on many topics related to concussion management, with particular emphasis on psychological factors related to concussions. She has also helped train school psychologists across the state of South Carolina in best practices for return-to-school and return-to-learn after a concussion. She often helps schools develop plans for supporting children in the classroom during their recovery. She is a member of the South Carolina Brain Injury Safety Net Task Force which includes a wide range of specialists from different disciplines who are able to participate in these presentation as well. 

Other Services Inquiries

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.