There is a great variability in the effects of head injury on different individuals but most injuries result in some degree of impairment in the following functions:  memory, communication, speed of thinking, psychosocial behaviors, motor, sensory, and physical abilities.  In the learning situation, students with traumatic brain injury can have problems with attention, impulse control, organization, abstract reasoning, and social judgment.

Teaching a Student with Traumatic Brain Injury

  • Avoid overstimulation.  Students with traumatic brain injury may fatigue quickly or become agitated and confused.
  • Be consistent.  A consistent approach can help improve memory, reduce confusion, foster language skills, and promote emotional control.
  • Stay calm.  Observing others' calmness can help to reduce a student's confusion and agitation.
  • Give step-by-step directions.  This approach lessens fatigue and confusion, improves memory and gives the student a sense of success in completing a task.
  • Do not talk down to the student.  Talk with students at a level appropriate to their age and level of understanding.
  • Avoid arguments and stressful situations.  Remember that students are particularly sensitive to stress after a brain injury.
  • Allow response time.  These students usually take longer to respond to a question or join in a conversation.
  • Try to incorporate frequent repetition of information to be learned and emphasize the use of memory cues such as calendars, daily logs, etc.

Possible Accommodations

  • Out-of-class testing.
  • Extended testing time.
  • Scribe for a test.
  • Reader for a test.
  • Volunteer note-taker.
  • Use of tape recorder for lecture notes.