Traumatic Brain Injury

A Resource for Parents, Teachers, and Professionals

What is a Traumatic Brain Injury?

A traumatic brain injury occurs when a sudden trauma causes damage to the brain. TBI can result when the head suddenly and violently hits an object, or when an object ruptures the skull and enters brain tissue. At least 1.7 million TBIs occur in the United States a year. The most common causes of TBI are falls, motor vehicles accidents, and violence. TBI ranges from mild, moderate and severe depending on the severity of the injury. TBI impacts others differently, but some common clinical symptoms that follow the injury include:

  • Any period of time of loss or decreased level of consciousness
  • Any loss of memory for events immediately before or after the injury
  • Any change in mental state at the time of the injury
  • Any neurological deficit

TBI deficits include:

  • Cognitive
  • Educational
  • Physical
  • Communication
  • Behavioral/Emotional
Living with a Traumatic Brain Injury

Instructional Practices

A challenge that students with a traumatic brain injury face is the ability to stay concentrated in class and remember the material that is being taught to them. Students with a TBI tend to say complaints such as, "I can't remember anything I read no matter how many times I re-read the same thing" or "I'm so distracted. I can pay attention for five minutes and then my mind wanders." To make sure these challenges are addressed, teachers can implement accommodations throughout the classroom.

  • Post a daily schedule everyday, both with words and visual aids. This can help the student organize his/her thoughts as well as help the student better understand what he/she is reading.
  • Divide work into smaller sections. This can help improve the student's memory because it is not too much material at once.
  • Focus student's attention with verbal and nonverbal cues. This will help the student maintain concentration.
  • Have student sit near the teacher in the classroom. Sitting closer to the teacher can help eliminate the student from being distracted by other people or things. Also, this can allow the teacher to make the student is staying concentrated.
  • Allow assistive technology such as tape recorders. This can help the student listen to the lesson more than once and have he/she take notes at his/her own pace.

Home Strategies to Generalize Classroom Supports

It is very important that parents/guardians of the student with TBI are working and communicating together with the school teachers and faculty so that the child can receive the best education possible. Some strategies parents/guardians can do with their child to help generalize classroom supports are:

  • To increase daily repetition. This can help the child build his/her memory and have the child feel more relaxed. An example of what a parent could do is to make a similar daily list of the days events for the child
  • Playing board games. Board games allow them to follow a set of rules and patterns and make decisions based upon the information they received. This can help improve their memory, speech and fine motor skills.
  • Use of memory books/picture matching. This can help the child build their memory as well as become aware of certain objects.

Application Resources

This website provides a variety of Apps that can help and benefit people of all ages with TBI. One App that caught my eye was called the "Dragon Dictation". It's a voice recognition app that allows users to easily speak and instantly see their words on the screen. It can send short text messages, longer email messages, and update your Facebook and Twitter statuses without typing a word. This can help those who lost their fine motor skills due to their TBI.

Website Resources

This website attached below provides shared strategies for family members or friends with an individual who has TBI from those who are experiencing the same thing.

This website attached below provides a true life story of a child who suddenly receive a TBI. It explains the complications and strengths that helped the family and Stevie cope with his TBI for him to reach a full recovery


American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. (2015). Traumatic Brain Injury in Adults.
Retrieved from

Brainline. (2012). Living with a Traumatic Brain Injury. Podcast retrieved from https://www.

Kreutzer, J. & Hsu, N. (n.d.). Accommodations Guide for Students with Brain Injury. Retrieved

Smith, D.D. & Tyler, N.C. (2014). Introduction to contemporary special education. Upper
Saddle, NJ: Pearson Education, Inc.