Traumatic Brain Injury

Geena James and Priscilla Auer

Characteristics of Traumatic Brain Injury

  • The characteristics of traumatic brain injuries depend on if the injury was closed or open, the severity and location of impact, whether the victim lost consciousness or suffered from concussion or coma as a result of the event.
  • Characteristics of traumatic brain injuries generally cause physical, cognitive, and/or psychosocial/behavioral/emotional impairments in victims that can last a few days to several years.
  • Physical characteristics of traumatic brain injuries include seizures, paralysis, poor coordination, weakness, headaches, and sensory problems.

Areas of Difficulty

  • Cognitive impairments may involve problems with concentration, memory, attention, reasoning, and information processing.
  • Victims of traumatic brain injuries may also have trouble with speech and language.
  • Psychosocial characteristics of traumatic brain injuries may include fatigue, mood swings, loss of self or emotional control, trouble relating to others, sexual dysfunction, restlessness, anxiety and depression.
  • Characteristics of traumatic brain injuries in children should be carefully monitored as it is sometimes more difficult to evaluate the extent of injury in children who may not be able to communicate their injuries.

Instructional Accommodations and/or Modifications

  • You can provide external devices and cues that the student can use to compensate for organization, memory; such as reminding students to include labels, maps checklists, pictures or icons, photograph cues, post-it-notes, calendars, planners, and journals.
  • A memory notebook is a great option for memory and organization because it can contain many different types of reminders and cues.

Effective Classroom Strategies and Interventions

  • It will help the student to work with them by giving them a goal to work towards. Students will best succeed if a rationale is given to help them understand the importance of the skill they are learning.
  • Students with TBI need clearly stated task directions as well as breaking the task into smaller steps.
  • It is good to provide opportunites for the student to respond and then provide immediate feedback.

Test/Assessment Accommodations/Modifications

  • For tests it is important to reduce the amount of written work required, provide exams in multiple-choice format rather than recall format, and give pass–fail grades rather than letter grades.
  • Students should not just use aids without training and without appropriate use.

Assistive Technology Applications for Supporting the Student

  • Assistive technology should be highly individualized and should depend on the severity of the brain injury.
  • Assistive technology can be tape recorders, calculators, electronic spellers, computers or word processors, augmentative communication devices, timers, alarms, or beepers. Another way to accommodate is by providing carbon paper notes, large print books, books on tape, and graphic organizers.
Traumatic Brain Injuries: Effects of damage to different lobes of the brain