Definition . Eligibility . Characteristics . Strategies for School . Strategies for Home


Traumatic brain injury is an acquired injury to the brain caused by an external physical force, resulting in total or partial functional disability or psychosocial impairment, or both, that adversely affects a student's educational performance. The term applies to open or closed head injuries resulting in impairments in one or more areas, such as cognition, language, memory, attention, reasoning, abstract thinking, judgment, problem-solving, sensory/perceptual/motor abilities, psychosocial behavior, physical functions, information processing, and speech. The term does not apply to brain injuries that are congenital or degenerative, or brain injuries induced by birth trauma.


Documentation the student meets all of the following:

  1. an injury to the brain caused by a physical force or internal occurrence has been diagnosed by a licensed physician or neurophysiologist; and
  2. the existence of cognitive, language, behavior, executive skills and/or motor problems as a result of the injury


.   High frustration levels

.   Fatigue

.   Possible irritability

.   Difficulties in the following areas:

Registering new information

Seeing relationships (similarities / differences)

Understanding abstract level of meaning (e.g. figures of speech metaphors)

Considering a variety of possible solutions

Holding several words or thoughts or intentions in mind at one time

Recalling events from earlier in the day or previously

Setting goals

Perceiving strengths and weaknesses in an objective manner

Focusing attention and filtering out distractions

Maintaining attention

Organizing objects into appropriate groups

Perceiving the spatial of orientation of objects

Recognizing objects if too much is presented at once or too rapidly

.   Social/behavioral disorders involve:



Awareness of self and others Awareness of social rules and roles

Interest in social involvement

Appearance and grooming


Awareness of self and others

Awareness of social rules and roles

Interest in social involvement

Appearance and grooming

.   Family relationship

Age appropriate behavior

Inappropriate social behaviors

.   Sensory (physical) disorders involve:

Vision and hearing

Speed and coordination of movement

Motor function


Eye/hand coordination

Spatial orientation

Strategies for School

  • Instructional Strategies
  • Use a team approach (general ed teacher, special ed staff, building counselor, nurse, administrator, family, and all support staff)
  • Provide sequential instruction
  • Arrange the classroom environment to be distraction free
  • Provide clear instructions
  • Use short tests and relatively brief testing and modify to meet student needs
  • Provide clear test instructions with examples
  • Utilize highly structured tasks
  • Teach the use of an assignment book
  • Provide student with study guide before unit begins

Strategies for Home

  • Redirect behavior
  • Change the subject/environment when needed
  • Provide positive reinforcement
  • Give student choices
  • Allow student to explore what he or she really wants
  • Structure situations so that the student can practice perceiving the feelings of others
  • Reward on task behaviors