While severe traumatic brain injury will dramatically alter a person's life, those with mild to moderate TBI can resume some, if not most, of their former activities. However, because TBI will cause lifelong complications, readjusting to and acclimating with life can be difficult.

This is especially true for those returning to school after TBI. Whether those with traumatic brain injury are going back to elementary school, high school or college, understanding the challenges they face is essential to successfully completing and enjoying school.

Challenges to Returning to School after TBI

Unlike most other disabilities, TBI can affect any part of a person's physical, mental and emotional health. As a result, the particular challenges a patient faces when resuming his or her education will depend on the type and severity of the traumatic brain injury.

Anyone returning to school after a TBI injury may be forced to deal with an inability to:

• focus or listen for long periods of time
• play sports
• remember information and/or assignments, both short- and long-term
• study for long periods of time
• socialize with peers
• take notes
• take timed tests

Along with these challenges, TBI patients returning to school may also experience anxiety, depression and/or low self-esteem, any of which can further complicate the above-mentioned problems.

 

Special Needs Programs for TBI Students
Depending on the severity of a TBI patient's condition, he or she may need to attend a special school for the mentally challenged. However, since many traditional schools have programs in place to specifically help the disabled, students with mild to moderate traumatic brain injury don't have to attend special schools unless they feel more comfortable doing so.

 

Tips for Successfully Returning to School after TBI

Although patients will have to cope with TBI difficulties when returning to school, there are some things they can do to minimize or eliminate these challenges. In addition to informing teachers about TBI, including about the specific complications a student faces, facilitating the return to school can entail:

• asking for unlimited time for taking tests
• clearly marking all assignment due dates and tests dates on a calendar (This will help TBI students organize, plan for and stay focused on major education deadlines.)
• getting a "note taker"
• getting a tutor
• joining clubs (This is a good way to socialize and make friends with people who have common interests.)
• regularly meeting with teachers to track progress and troubleshoot solutions for persisting challenges

Some schools, especially universities, have departments dedicated to providing disabled students with the resources they need to graduate. Consequently, any TBI student should consult the administration when enrolling to find out where to go for aid, as well as what type of aid the school offers.

Returning to school after TBI can be a smooth adjustment with a little planning and communication. To ensure success, TBI patients should also receive the appropriate long-term care needed.