What Is Traumatic Brain Injury?
Traumatic brain injury results from a sudden trauma to the head. The impact of the injury may not be seen immediately; long-term consequences may not present themselves until months or years after the injury. This type of injury can cause physical changes, with headaches, fatigue, and slowed reactions, and cognitive changes, including difficulties with thinking, remembering, concentrating, reasoning, processing, and learning new material - which is why an accommodation plan for traumatic brain injury patients is often necessary. Emotional and behavioral changes can also occur with depression, anxiety, moodiness, irritability, aggressiveness, and frustration from sudden changes or minor events.
Since traumatic brain injury differs in each individual, the lifelong changes resulting from the injury will differ, too. Generally, these changes will not disappear entirely over time. Negative changes from the injury may only be seen as affecting educational abilities. Developmental activities may reveal impairments as tasks become more difficult as children age.
While traumatic brain injury may share similarities with learning disabilities, differences do exist between the two. These differences are important to help the student learn. A student with traumatic brain injury, for instance, may remember material learned before the injury, but have severe difficulties learning new material. Also, students with traumatic brain injuries do recover some function, although recovery is usually unpredictable. Furthermore, traumatic brain injury is an acquired disability, meaning a student may remember his previous abilities and become frustrated, angry, and deny the difficulties he now experiences.