Community College of Rhode Island

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Disabilities Due to Head Trauma

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)

How post head trauma characteristics may affect student participation:

  • Decreased attention span
  • Frustration with schoolwork or task performance that posed no problem before injury
  • Poor information retrieval
  • Difficulty in acquisition of new knowledge
  • Possibility of exhibiting inappropriate or impulsive actions
  • Longer processing time requirement
  • Lowered motivation, organization and comprehension
  • Difficulty with concentration and memorization

Helpful strategies for instructing students with post head trauma characteristics:

  • Help students to follow lectures with three steps: preview, lecture, review.
  • Provide lecture outlines and other handouts.
  • Use a multi-sensory approach when providing information to students. Increased learning can occur when material is presented simultaneously in a variety of ways, e.g. visual images with auditory descriptions.
  • Gain student's attention when highlighting significant points by using eye contact, voice inflection, and body gesturing.
  • Provide concrete examples and practical applications of material whenever possible.
  • Review important points several times during the lecture.
  • Give assignments both orally and in written format to avoid confusion.
  • Develop a positive student-teacher relationship.
  • Increase one on one instruction outside of class.
  • Teach mnemonics for memory assistance.

From a student with a traumatic head injury, Spring 2012:

"The most helpful thing a teacher did for me was get to know me, and let me answer some questions out loud when I couldn't organize my thoughts."

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Last Updated: 9/19/12