Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)

A Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is an injury to the brain that may be caused by events such as loss of oxygen to the brain, stroke, infection, or a significant blow to the head/body resulting in the movement of the brain within the skull. The type of TBI can vary depending on the location, severity, and duration of the impact on the brain.

At least 5.3 million Americans, 2% of the U.S. population, currently live with disabilities resulting from TBI, according to the Brain Trauma Foundation. Depending on the extent and location of the injury, symptoms caused by a brain injury can vary widely, and may include: difficulty with recall and short-term memory, loss of balance and coordination, difficulty with speech, blurred vision, and decreased organizational and reasoning skills.

Considerations and instructional strategies:
  • Include the approved disability accommodation statement in the course syllabus. Invite students to contact you if they need disability-related accommodations.
  • Be mindful that some students may need more to acquire and/or master content. Allow additional time for lengthy and detailed course assignments, if needed and as permitted by the course.
  • Provide clear and concise instructions.
  • Incorporate visual aids and multiple teaching methods including visual, auditory, and hands-on approaches.
  • Break large amounts of information or instructions into smaller segments. Review previous lessons and summarize periodically.
  • Allow for short breaks during long class sessions.
  • Provide an outline for each class session including important takeaways.
  • Allow for time for clarification of essential information and/or directions.
  • If you are working with a student who may have a speech impairment, take the time to understand the student. Let the student know if you don't understand and ask for clarification.
  • When in doubt about how best to assist your student, ask them. Remember that confidentiality is important; therefore, it is best to have the conversation in private (e.g. during your office hours).
Accommodations may include, but are not limited to:
  • Note-taking assistance
  • Testing accommodations: extended time, reduced distraction testing environment; reader or scribe assistance
  • Priority seating
  • Written supplement to oral instructions, assignments, due dates, and other directions
  • Permission to use tape recorders and/or laptop computers for note-taking
  • Alternative format materials (e.g. enlarged text, electronic text for use with a screen reader)