Traumatic Brain Injury

Though not always visible and sometimes seemingly minor, traumatic brain injuries (TBI) are complex. They can cause physical, cognitive, social, and vocational changes that affect an individual for a short period of time or permanently. Depending on the extent and location of the injury, symptoms caused by a brain injury vary widely. Some common results are seizures, loss of balance or coordination, difficulty with speech, limited concentration, memory loss, and loss of organizational and reasoning skills.

Considerations When Working with Students with TBI

A traditional intelligence test is not an accurate assessment of cognitive recovery after a TBI and bears little relationship to the mental processes required for everyday functioning. For example, students with TBI might perform well on brief, structured and artificial tasks but have significant deficits in learning, memory, and executive functions. Recovery from a TBI can be inconsistent. A student might take one step forward, two back, do nothing for a while, and then unexpectedly make a series of gains. A "plateau" is not evidence that functional improvement has ended.

Common Accommodations for Students with TBI

  • Exam modifications
  • Time extensions
  • Recorded lectures
  • Note-takers
  • Priority registration
  • Alternative print formats

Instructional Strategies for Students with TBI

Brain injuries often require instructional strategies similar to those listed for other disabilities. The use of such strategies will depend on the manifestation of the disability. If a faculty member would like more information about instructional strategies for students with brain injuries, he/she should utilize our direct link to our office email address.