Traumatic Brain Injury also referred to as TBI is by definition a form of acquired brain injury, occurs when a sudden trauma causes damage to the brain. TBI can be the result of when the head violently hits an object, or when an object is pierced into the skull and enters brain tissue. Symptoms of TBI can differ from the severity of the injury depending on the extent of damage that occurred to the brain. Two main causes of TBIs are “in car accidents when the head hits the windshield and in bicycle accidents when the head hits the ground”. Whereas many milder TBIs can be caused while participating in physical activity, for example many athletes experience concussions which is considered to be a mild TBI.
There are many different characteristics separated into four different categories of Medical/Neurological Symptoms, Behavior/Emotional Symptoms, Cognitive Symptoms, and Social Skills Developments. Within those categories they each have a list of possible symptoms for children with Traumatic Brain Injury which can be a resource for those who do not have a knowledge in TBIs. Primary and secondary are the way that medical professionals describe two types of brain damage. The differences between primary and secondary are that primary damage is a direct outcome of an initial impact to the brain, whereas secondary damage develops overtime as the brain responds to initial trauma. In Individuals with Disabilities Act, it states that traumatic brain injury can result in total or partial functional disability or psychosocial impairment, or in some cases both which can affect a student’s educational performance because it can cause impairments in many areas, for example, memory, attention, motor skills, etc. Head injuries causing disabilities can also affect a student’s information processing, social behaviors, memory capacities, and many other factors.
Looking at statistics relating with traumatic brain injury is eye-opening. Statistics show that about 2.5 million people sustain TBIs each year, of this number about 50,000 individuals die, and 280,000 are hospitalized. Children between the ages of zero and fourteen years old sustain about 475,000 TBIs, along with about 180 per 100,000 children under the age 15 experiencing TBIs, and of that number about five to eight percent experience a severe TBI. As stated earlier TBIs are often caused from physical activity or sports and recreational activities, which had led to the rate of TBI caused by sports and recreational related injuries increased 57% in just eight years for children under the ages of nineteen or younger. As well as more than 229,000 military personnel being diagnosed with a TBI between 2000 and 2011. Sadly, TBI is a common injury for veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan wars. It is currently estimated that 5.3 million children and adults in the United States alone are living with the consequences of sustaining a TBI, 40% of which involve children.
It is believed that the number of TBIs would decrease in children and others if seat belts and other child restraint devices were consistently used, as well as decreasing the number of accidents caused by driving under the influence of alcohol and other substances. As well as, children and others should wear the proper safety gear when bicycling, skateboarding, skiing, snowboarding, horseback riding, and similar activities. Children should not have to be reminded to put on their safety gear, it should be a habit for them, just like putting on a seat belt should be a habit every time they get into a car. With all of the statistics that are shown, it is an increasing concern regarding the number of TBIs in not only children but also in adults.
Traumatic Brain Injuries are not like other disabilities it is hard to diagnose because there is no set test or examination that can be done to prove how severe the injury is, it can only truly be diagnosed from a medical professional by symptoms the patient is experiencing (Hardman,382). As well as there being no set time frame where a TBI can be diagnosed, for some they feel the symptoms almost immediately, whereas others might take a couple days to start seeing the symptoms.
Although there are education support services for students who suffer from even a mild TBI but can be more extensive for the more severe injuries. Educational supports are there to focus on the student’s environmental changes that affect there day to day living and to help transition back into their appropriate school setting. For students who have TBIs, they can develop individualized education programs that can be written for short periods of time, for example for six to eight weeks, which gives the ability to make changes depending on progress and growth that is being made. It is common to see the most growth from students in the first year following the injury, with little progress made after that point which makes flexibility and responsiveness from teacher and support staff a necessity for the success of the student.
When thinking about the student’s success, it is beneficial to provide them with accommodations and modification to help ease them back into the workload depending on the severity of the injury. Some of the more common accommodations and modifications offered are a study guide or course outline, scribe or not taker, modify work amounts, having a classroom aid, and developing a routine and schedule. It is important to be able to provide resources for a student who is reintegrating back into the community, some services that may be recommended by medical professions or offered by the school are counseling and therapy to guide the students back into school.
For the students who decide that they want to continue their education after high school, there are resources out there to support them. There are interdisciplinary team members who contributed a great amount to help with the transition process, including the difficult factors of physical accessibility of the campus, living arrangements, academic achievement support, social and personal support systems, and training and placement for careers.. Whereas for students who find it difficult to continue their education after high school, the planning for the transition to employment is essential. Throughout high school, students with TBI should have developed skills associated with filling out job applications, interviewing, and participating in supervised work experiences. There are state agencies that provide assistance to young people to TBIs when looking to apply for jobs and some that even offer services related to aptitude assessment, training opportunities, and trial job placements.
It is important for people with TBIs to understand the benefits of collaboration and cooperation because they are key factors to success. Most children and youth with a TBI leave rehabilitations or hospital settings without preparation for the demands that come with returning to home and educational environments. As well as many educators are not prepared to provide the resources and services needed to a student with a TBI who has different cognitive, academic, and behavioral needs compared to other students. It is imperative that the appropriate teaching activities are given to help students with TBIs to have many opportunities throughout life.