Traumatic Brain Injury

All you need to know about TBI

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Definition and Description

Traumatic brain injury, also known as a TBI , 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

  • Frequent Headaches
  • Feelings of Depression
  • Memory Loss
  • Seizures
  • Poor Attention & Concentration

Prevalence Rate


  • 54-60 million cases of TBI occur worldwide annually

United States

  • Around 1.7 million cases of TBI occur in the US annually

Children aged 0 to 4 years, older adolescents aged 15 to 19 years, and adults aged 65 years and older are most likely to sustain a TBI.

Common Problems Children Have After a Traumatic Brain Injury

Characteristics that Interfere with Learning

After a TBI it is common for people to have problems with attention, concentration, speech and language, learning and memory, reasoning, planning and problem-solving. A person with TBI may be unable to focus, pay attention, or attend to more than one thing at a time.

Classroom Accommodations:

  • Preferential seating- seating the student with a TBI in the front of the classroom in a quiet location near a designated peer who can help the student stay on task is key to helping them be successful and stay focused.
  • External devices- Assistive devices may include tape recorders (record what the w teacher says so the student is able to go back to any missed or forgotten information), calculators or electronic spellers. Calendars, labels, and checklists really help to keep the student organized.
  • Avoid timed tests- students with a TBI become distracted very easily. If they are given a timed test, they may not be able to stay focused. They will feel very pressured and may only focus on the fact that they're running out of time rather than the actual test.

Below are links to websites for more information about classroom accommodations-

Accommodations at Home

  • Provide the child with direct instruction- when you want them to do something, you need to tell them exactly what to do. For example, instead of saying "go clean your room," you should say "go make your bed, and then put your clean clothes away."
  • Praise the child- when the child does what you asked them, use positive reinforcement and praise. The child will be more likely to complete the task again if they know that they will get praised.
  • Reduce unstructured time- always have an activity planned for the child with TBI. When they are left with free time, it gives them time to get distracted, disorganized, or discouraged.

Below is a link for additional information on at home accommodations-

This website gives a lot of information about living with a traumatic brain injury. It provides personal connections and what the person with a TBI should expect in their future.

This website provides a lot of detailed facts about TBI. It can be very helpful because especially if you aren't an expert on the subject. It provides many basic info and also goes into detail.

Helpful app: Audible. This app allows you to listen to books on your mobile device. Great for those who have trouble reading or retaining that information more effectively.

JFK Medical Center: A Brain Injury Success Story


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Exceptional Teachers Teaching Exceptional Children. (n.d.) Retrieved July 1 2007 from,

Living With Traumatic Brain Injury. (n.d.) Retrieved April 26, 2015 from,

Life-Changing Mobile Apps For People With Brain Injury. (n.d.) Retrieved April 26, 2015 from,