Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is an injury that results from sudden trauma to the head and which causes damage to the brain. TBI is a life changing event that affects the way people think, feel and function in life. The long-term effect of this injury varies from person to person and may include cognitive impairment, a change in memory and the ability to concentrate. The ability to walk, balance and perform other physical tasks may be affected.
Is my child eligible for special help at school?
The Individual with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA, defines TBI as:
“…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. 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, and motor abilities; psycho-social behavior; physical functions; information processing; and speech. The term does not apply to brain injuries that are congenital or degenerative, or to brain injuries induced by birth trauma.” [34 Code of Federal Regulations §300.8(c)(12)]”
Once a child has been determined to be eligible for special education, supports and services are designed to help the student learn within the general educational curriculum along with other students. Visit our website for more information on the IEP process.
What do I need to think about for my child’s IEP?
Students with TBI may be thought to have a learning disability, emotional disturbance, or an intellectual disability. When children with TBI return to school, their educational and emotional needs are often different than before the injury. You’ll want to consider
- Planning for the child’s return to school
- Emotional support
- Accommodations and Modification
Where can I find more IEP strategies and ideas?
- Brain Injury: Strategies for Teams And Re-education for Students
- Students with TBI: Learn About the IEP/504
- Classroom Interventions for Students with Traumatic Brain Injuries
Is there some technology that can help my student learn?
Assistive technology is a related service listed in IDEA. Technology is a key to leveling the playing field for individuals with disabilities. Check out the TechMatrix for suggestions for finding educational and assistive technology products for students with disabilities. Learn more on our Assistive Technology webpage.
What about concussions?
A concussion is a brain injury, caused by a blow, bump or jolt to the head that can have serious consequences. It can occur in any sport or recreational activity. In June 2013, Michigan adopted a law that regulates sports concussions and return to athletic activity. More information can be found on the Michigan Department of Community Health website.
Where can I find support?
- Brain Injury Association of Michigan
- Brainline: For People with TBI
- Brainline: Support for Family and Friends of People with TBI
- Michigan Resource Guide for Persons with Traumatic Brain Injury and Their Families