Traumatic Brain Injury

For Parents and Teachers

What is TBI?

Traumatic Brain Injury is an injury to the brain caused by an external force that occurs after birth. This can result in an impairment in cognitive and/or physical abilities, which may impact one's ability to learn.


Major Characteristics of TBI

Traumatic Brain Injury has many characteristics that occur during and/or after the initial injury. These may include:

  • headache
  • fatigue
  • visual disturbance
  • memory loss
  • poor attention/concentration
  • sleep disturbance
  • dizziness/loss of balance
  • irritability/emotional disturbance
  • feelings of depression
  • seizure
(Learn about TBI, Characteristics of TBI)

Prevalence of TBI

The prevalence of Traumatic Brain Injury in the United States is 1.6 million people annually. It is estimated at around 54-60 million people worldwide, annually.

(Worldwide incidence of traumatic brain injury could be six times higher than previous estimates)

Interference with Learning

Traumatic Brain Injury can interfere with learning as it impacts:
  1. cognitive skills: thinking and processing, memory, attention and executive function skills
  2. speech/language: speech, oral language, reading, writing, spelling, and social communication skills
  3. physical skills: balancing, walking, moving arms and legs, writing, drawing, hearing and vision
  4. emotional/behavioral: emotional reactions, emotional lability and control, anxiety, depression, and agitation


Classroom Accommodations

Accommodations for students with Traumatic Brain Injury in the classroom include:
  1. additional time on assignments and tests: This enables the student to have more time to comprehend and process the information presented. This is important to students with TBI because they may have slower comprehension and processing skills.
  2. breaks: This will allow students with TBI to take breaks from assignments, in order to keep themselves concentrated. This is important because students with TBI need breaks in between work because it takes a lot of effort for them to stay concentrated and will tire very easily.
  3. recording lessons: This will help students with TBI suffering from memory loss listen to the lesson again to retain more information. This is important because students with TBI often have difficulty remembering information and recorded lessons enable them to review the information as much as is required for them to understand the material.

Some additional accommodations:

  • oral and written instructions
  • reduce grading on spelling and grammar
  • allow use of dictionary or thesaurus
  • preferential seating
  • exempt student from oral presentations
  • reduce assignment/work quantity
  • shorter tests

(Hsu and Kreutzer)

For additional information:

At Home Accommodations

Accommodations for children with Traumatic Brain Injury at home include:
  1. breaks: Provide breaks in-between completing chores and homework to prevent them from tiring easily. This will assist the child with TBI from tiring easily.
  2. written schedules: Create a daily schedule of tasks for the child which they check off as they complete each task. This will help the child stay focused and create a daily routine for them.
  3. assistance with homework/chores: Set aside time to assist with with homework. Specifically with reading instructions or guiding them through homework. This will help them stay focused and help them complete any homework or studying.


(Hsu and Kreutzer)

Accommodations at Home

This resource provides parents and/or caregivers guidance with accommodations for children with TBI in the home environment.

Accommodations at School

This resource provides teachers guidance with accommodations for students with TBI in the classroom.

Students Returning to School

This resource provides information to parents and/or caregivers on returning their child back to school following TBI.

Find out More About TBI

This resource provides information to anyone who wants to know any additional information about TBI.

Application for Students with TBI

Awesome Memory, is an application located in the iTunes app store. It is a free application, that can used on iPods, iPads, or phones, memory game for people that have suffered from TBI and memory problems associated with it.

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The IDEA's Special Education Categories: Traumatic Brain Injury


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Faul, M., Coronado, V., Wald, M., & Xu, L. (2010, January 1). Traumatic Brain Injury in the United States. Retrieved April 19, 2015, from

Kreutzer, J., & Hsu, N. (2015, January 1). Accommodations Guide for Students with Brain Injury. Retrieved April 19, 2015, from

Lash, M. (2000, November 2). Teaching Strategies for Students with Brain Injuries. Retrieved April 19, 2015, from

Learn about TBI Characteristics of TBI. (2015, January 1). Retrieved April 19, 2015, from

Returning to School After Traumatic Brain Injury. (n.d.). Retrieved April 19, 2015, from

Ruoff, J. (2015, January 1). The Student with a Brain Injury: Achieving Goals for Higher Education. Retrieved April 19, 2015, from

Severe TBI Symptoms. (2001, January 1). Retrieved April 19, 2015, from

Smith, D., & Tyler, N. (2014). Very Low Incidence Disabilities. In Introduction to Contemporary Special Education (pp. 374-375). Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson Education.

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). (2015, January 1). Retrieved April 19, 2015, from

Worldwide incidence of traumatic brain injury could be six times higher than previous estimates. (2012, November 26). Retrieved April 19, 2015, from