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IDEA definition of Traumatic Brain Injury
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 child’s educational performance. Traumatic brain injury 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, and motor abilities; psychosocial behavior; physical functions; information processing; and speech. Traumatic brain injury does not apply to brain injuries that are congenital or degenerative, or to brain injuries induced by birth trauma.
Prevalence Of Traumatic Brain Injury
Traumatic Brain Injury is silent epidemic. It is most common cause of death and disability in children. TBI is a serious public health in the United States and also it is contribute to many deaths. Today 1/2 or 1% of school aged children are diagnosed with TBI. Only 3% adults are diagnosed with TBI. Today you will not find that all students are served under the TBI disability category they may be label as ED or LD. Today many programs and researchers are working together to help people to be more recognizable and also be able to respond and recover if TBI occurs.
Types of Traumatic Brain Injury
There are two types of TBI and they are open head injury and closed head injury.
Open head injury
is when the skull has been fractured or the membrane. Open head injury is very serious and can cause permanent disability and also can cause death. This injury may occur when an bullet hit the skull or a forceful object. The most common open head injury is the skull fracture. This occurs when a piece of the bone from the skull penetrates the brain. Skull fractures are cause by sports, blow to the head, and car accidents.
Closed head injury
this is the most common one and it does not break the skull it is caused when the brain slams against something. Closed head injury affect the cells and the tissue throughout the brain. This injury can be cause by bicycle accidents, falls, and while playing sports.
*Shaken baby syndrome is another unfortunate but common cause of traumatic brain injury in children.
Signs and symptoms
Signs and symptoms of neurological impairment caused by TBI depend on which structures in the brain are damaged. Common Symptoms are listed below.
difficulty controlling urges (disinhibition)
Blurry or double vision
Difficulty concentrating or thinking
Difficulty finding words or understanding the speech of others
Characteristics of Students with TBI
Severe recent memory disorder with poor carry over of new learning.
External event caused onset.
Neurological impairment is identifiable from “hard” signs as well as “soft” signs.
Marked contrast of pre-onset and post-onset capabilities, both in one’s self view and in the perception of others.
Some old skills and knowledge remain, but there are peaks and valleys of performance.
Physical disability likely to involve paresis (weakness) or spasticity (over-tension).
Degree and number of deficits range from mild to severe, but often combine to produce severe disability.
Students with Traumatic Brain Injury
Students with TBI it can cause them physical, cognitive, social and vocational changes that can affect a child for a short period of time or permanently. Recovery from a brain injury can be inconsistent. A student might take one step forward two back, do nothing for a while, and then unexpectedly make a series of gains.
Teaching Strategies for Students with Brain Injury
A teacher who works with a child with TBI they should know about the effects of the student before working with them. In doing this it helps the teacher to have a good relationship with the student. Teacher should challenge the student and give hones proactive feedback to the student to help them be prepare for success and increase expectations. Children with brain injuries tend to have a hard time paying attention in the classroom. Children often have a harder time learning new skills because the damage happens to a brain that is still growing and developing. Sometimes you will find that a student with TBI may not complete their assignment and they are easily to be distracted. The child may not remember questions that were asked by the teacher.
Strategies for improving attention and concentration for the classroom can include:
Reduce distractions in the student’s work area
Divide work into smaller sections
Ask the student to summarize information orally that has just been presented
Use cue words to alert the student to pay attention
Establish a nonverbal cueing system to remind the student to pay attention
Things to do to help improve a child memory skills are:
Frequently repeat information and summarize it
Have the student carry an assignment sheet to each class and check that it is correctly filled out
Teach the student to use devices such as post-it-notes, calendars and assignment books as self-reminders
Teach the student to categorize or chunk information to aid retention
Demonstrate techniques such as mental rehearsal and use of special words or examples as reminders
Link new information to the student’s relevant prior knowledge
Provide experiential presentations of instructional materials
TBI different than other disabilities
The biggest difference is that TBI is an injury to the brain. This injury affects the child physically abilities, cognitive functioning, and communication. Another difference in a child with TBI their knowledge can be scattered , leaving the child with wide gaps in his or her learning. A child with TBI also have to have their assessments done frequently.
Parts of the brain and some of their functions
Balance and equilibrium
Some memory for reflex motor acts
Integration of different senses
Location for visual attention
Location for touch perception
Regulates body functions
Reflexes to seeing and hearing
Controls autonomic nervous
Affects level of alertness
Categorization of objects
Heward, L. William. (2009). Exceptional Children: An Introduction to Special Education. 9th ed. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey
Traumatic Brain Injury in Students. Retrieved April 1,2010 from
Teaching Strategies for Students with Brain Injuries. Retrieved April 1, 2010 from
Schoenbrodt, Lisa. (2001). A parents Guide: Children With Traumatic Brain Injury.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control.
. Retrieved March 24,2010
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