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Traumatic Brain Injury

Whats Inside?

What is Traumatic Brain

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; psychosocial
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.

Instructional Strategies
Effect on Adolescents
Effect on Adults
Current Trends

Causes of Traumatic
Brain Injury
The leading causes of Traumatic Brain Injury are:
-Falls: Cause half of the traumatic brain injuries in
children infants through 14 years old
-Motor vehicle
-Struck by or against objects: include colliding with a
moving or stationary object, were the second leading
cause of TBI among children ages infants to 14 years
Who is at Risk?
Approximately 18% of all TBI-related emergency
department visits involved children aged infants
to 4 years old
Approximately 22% of all TBI-related
hospitalizations involved adults aged 75 years
and older.

Prevention of Traumatic Brain Injuries

-Wearing a seat belt every time you drive or ride in a
motor vehicle.
-Buckling your child in the car using a child safety seat,
booster seat, or seat belt (according to the child's
height, weight, and age).
-Children should start using a booster seat when they
outgrow their child safety seats (usually when they
weigh about 40 pounds). They should continue to ride
in a booster seat until the lap/shoulder belts in the car
fit properly, typically when they are 49 tall.
-Never driving while under the influence of alcohol or
-Wearing a helmet and making sure your children wear
helmets when riding a bike, motorcycle, snowmobile,
scooter, or all-terrain vehicle, playing a contact sport,
such as football, ice hockey, or boxing, using in-line
skates or riding a skateboard, batting and running bases
in baseball or softball, riding a horse; or skiing or

-Making living areas safer for children, by

installing window guards to keep young
children from falling out of open windows;
and using safety gates at the top and bottom
of stairs when young children are around.
-Making sure the surface on your child's
playground is made of shock-absorbing
material, such as hardwood mulch or sand.

Characteristics of Traumatic Brain Injuries

Children who sustain TBI may experience a
complex array of problems, including the
-Medical/Neurological Symptoms: speech,
vision, hearing and other sensory impairment,
decreased motor coordination, difficulty
breathing, dizziness, headaches, impaired
balance, loss of intellectual capacities, partial to
full paralysis, reduced body strength, seizures,
sleep disorders, and speech problems.
-Cognitive Symptoms: decreased attention,
organizational skills, and problem solving
ability; difficulty with abstract concepts;
memory deficits; perceptual problems; poor
concentration, poor judgment; slowed
information processing, and poor memory.

-Behavioral/Emotional Symptoms: aggressive

behavior, denial of deficits, depression,
difficulty accepting and responding to change,
loss of reduction of inhibitions, distractibility,
feelings of worthlessness, lack of emotion, low
frustration level, helplessness, impulsivity,
inappropriate crying or laughing, and
-Social Skills Development: difficulties
maintaining relationships, inability to restrict
socially inappropriate behaviors, inappropriate
responses to the environment, insensitivity to
others' feelings, limited initiation of social
interactions, and social isolation.
Any or all of the above impairments may occur
to different degrees. If your child experiences
any of these symptoms after a fall, accident,
motor accident, or being struck by any object,
seek medical attention immediately.

Instructional Strategies
-Provide repetition and consistency
-Demonstrate new tasks, state instructions, and provide
examples to illustrate ideas and concepts
-Avoid figurative language
-Reinforce lengthening periods of attention to
appropriate tasks
-Probe skill acquisition frequently and provide repeated
-Teach compensatory strategies for increasing memory
-Be prepared for students' reduced stamina and
increased fatigue and provide rest breaks as needed
-Keep the environment as distraction-free as possible
-Find out as much as you can about the child's injury
and his or her present needs.
-Give the student more time to finish schoolwork and
-Give directions one-step at a time. For tasks with
many steps, it helps to give the student written
-Show the student how to perform new tasks. Give
examples to go with new ideas and concepts
-Have consistent routines. This helps the student know
what to expect. If the routine is going to change, let the
student know ahead of time
-Check to make sure that the student has actually
learned the new skill. Give the student lots of
opportunities to practice the new skill
-Show the student how to use an assignment book
and a daily schedule. This helps the student get
-Realize that the student may tire quickly. Let the
student rest as needed
-Reduce distractions
-Keep in touch with the student's parents. Share
information about how the student is doing at home
and at school
-Be flexible about expectations. Be patient.
Maximize the student's chances for success.

Current Trends
There is a greater push for parental education
on brain injuries in children and the importance
of protection against brain injuries-such as
wearing a bike helmet or a seat belt.

Effect of Disability
Effect on Adolescents:

-Cannot recognize people or places.

Danger Signs in Children:

-Are getting more and more confused, restless,

or agitated.

Take your child to the emergency department

right away if they received a bump, blow, or jolt
to the head or body, and will not stop crying
and cannot be consoled or will not nurse or eat.
Adolescents with traumatic brain injuries may
have a difficult time communicating with peers
socially or academically depending on the
severity of their accident and injuries.

Effects on Adults:
Danger Signs in Adults
In rare cases, a dangerous blood clot may form
on the brain in a person with a concussion and
crowd the brain against the skull. Contact your
health care professional or emergency
department right away if you have any of the
following danger signs after a bump, blow, or
jolt to the head or body:
-Headache that gets worse and does not go
-Weakness, numbness or decreased
-Repeated vomiting or nausea.
-Slurred speech.
The people checking on you should take you to
an emergency department right away if you:
-Look very drowsy or cannot be awakened.
-Have one pupil (the black part in the middle of
the eye) larger than the other.
-Have convulsions or seizures.

-Have unusual behavior.

-Lose consciousness (a brief loss of consciousness
should be taken seriously and the person should be
carefully monitored).
Traumatic Brain Injury can cause a wide range
of functional short- or long-term changes
affecting thinking, sensation, language, or
-Thinking (i.e., memory and reasoning);
-Sensation (i.e., touch, taste, and smell);
-Language (i.e., communication, expression,
and understanding); and
-Emotion (i.e., depression, anxiety, personality
changes, aggression, acting out, and social
Traumatic Brain Injury can also cause epilepsy
and increase the risk for conditions such as
Alzheimers disease, Parkinsons disease, and
other brain disorders that become more
prevalent with age.

Online Resources