State Department of Education TBI Pages

The Ohio Department of Education page on TBI is located at

This page includes a lot of great resources for TBI, but one of the most important pieces of information for Ohio’s practitioners is that “Ohio’s educational definition of traumatic brain injury is not restricted to injuries resulting from external trauma. It is more inclusive than the IDEA definition. Ohio’s definition covers conditions such as strokes, tumors, and injuries caused by surgeries. This expansion of the federal definition allows more children with brain injuries to be identified under the TBI category for the purpose of receiving special educational services.”

Wisconsin’s Memory Module, linked on the ODE page, is also a valuable resource ( It discusses how a TBI affects memory, gives a description of various parts of the brain, common issues and fixes (e.g. environmental modifications), what a teacher may see in the classroom, and strategies.

Strategies discussed include:

  1. Instructional Strategies – explicit strategies with chances for practice,
  2. Cued Recall – student is asked to recall recently prevented information with cues and organization
  3. External Memory Aides – to help a student remember an event or process, which could include rearrangement of the environment (e.g. visual schedules).

It also includes the TBI Memory Checklist, available at: 

Their Memory Strategy Chart may also be valuable (Slide 39), in addition to their Accommodations and Modifications Charts, which are available at:


Lastly, the Tennessee Department of Education has developed a resource packet for TBI, which can be accessed at:

It includes background information, resources, assessment examples, checklists, definitions,


TBI Class Handouts

From our class on TBI, our professor shared two handout-resources and I feel as if this would be a good place to save these brief handouts. One is a brief primer on the importance of executive function, and the other is a handout of guidelines for families and schools in assisting students who have undergone a traumatic brain injury. Both resources are brief, but have valuable information for any practitioner.

TBI – Guidelines for Families and Schools

Brain as CEO – TBI


What is TBI? – Resources has provided an extensive list of FAQs along with their answers at This FAQ includes:

  • What is a Traumatic Brain Injury?
  • What are its effects?
  • When will he/she wake up?
  • How do we know how bad the injury is?
  • What will be the outcome?
  • What can I do to improve the outcome?
    • Cognitive Rehabilitation, Family Therapy, Substance Abuse Counseling, Political Advocacy are their main results also provides an “Educator’s Guide to the Brain” at This guide gives a description of various parts of the brain, what happens to it during an injury, geography/parts of the brain, and information about recovery/cognitive development.

Ohio State University TBI ID Interview Form

Ohio State University has published a TBI identification method, designed as a “standardized, short, structured interview designed to elicit a rich lifetime TBI history.” (via The aforementioned website also includes a presentation on the tool, which provides training on the purpose of the TBI-ID form, a description of why screening is important, and training in conducting an interview and interpreting the results. As school psychologists, it is not our job to medically diagnose a TBI. However, if provided with information from a doctor that indicates a TBI, or we have a reason to believe such an injury has occurred, this screening interview tool may be a valuable resource in gathering data on the student and their medical history. However, as with any measure in which the participant reports their own history, it is possible to make errors or not report certain history, and outside or medical assistance is likely to be helpful in TBI cases.

The screening tool itself can be accessed from:


Accommodations for TBI

DadeSchools created a quick list of accommodations that may be useful for a student who has recently suffered a Traumatic Brain Injury. These accommodations can be incorporated into the classroom temporarily following a TBI, or added to a 504 Plan or IEP, depending on the severity of the injury and its impact on the student’s educational functioning.

Environmental Modifications:

  • minimize extraneous auditory and visual stimulation (use study carrels or room dividers)
  • provide preferential seating
  • arrange seating to allow for more space between students
  • provide small group instruction
  • structure student’s activities and schedule to limit number of changes and reduce unstructured time
  • limit number of persons that the student deals with each day
  • provide the student with a written schedule and keep the schedule as consistent as possible
  • provide area to keep supplies, books, etc., away from student’s work area
  • select a classroom buddy

Learning Strategies:

  • gain the student’s attention before speaking
  • break complex tasks down into component parts and complete each part before trying to combine the components
  • provide frequent repetition of important tasks
  • utilize the child’s best sensory modality
  • question student to be sure the information was received and interpreted clearly and provide feedback as necessary
  • provide cueing systems in the form of assignment books, placing task cues on student’s desk, etc.
  • provide verbal and written instruction
  • shorten assignments and/or divide assignments into parts
  • structure thinking processes graphically through outlines, graphs, flow charts and models
  • develop a system for maintaining organization
  • facilitate note taking by providing outlines with major headings
  • give short frequent quizzes, rather than all inclusive exams
  • accompany homework with written instructions
  • initiate a behavior modification program for academic and/or interpersonal behavior skills encouraging student to chart his or her progress.


via, which was accessed from the National Association of Special Education Teachers website on TBI (, which may also be valuable for finding other resources and interventions for TBI.


CDC Concussion Fact Sheet

Concussions are arguably the most commonly referenced form of Traumatic Brain Injury. The CDC published a PDF Fact Sheet summarizing information about concussions, symptoms, and some tips for improvement. This fact sheet would be an ideal resource to hand to parents or a teacher of a student who has recently suffered a concussion, whether at home, during a sport, or on the playground.

The tips listed, for quick reference, are:

  • Get plenty of sleep at night and rest during the day
  • Avoid physically demanding or high concentration activities
  • Ask your doctor about your limits for dangerous activities (e.g. driving, biking)
  • Do not drink alcohol 

NCELA – Toolkit

NCELA, the National Clearinghouse for English Language Acquisition, is a great website with a wide variety of resources for ELA, including demographics/state data, resources, news, and upcoming research and grant information. Their website is They also have “Fast Facts” pages with a lot of information/data broken down into 1-2 page documents.

Specifically, their ELA toolkit is very valuable, available for download at The toolkit’s content includes:

  • Chapter 1: Tools and Resources for Identifying All English Learner Students
  • Chapter 2: Tools and Resources for Providing English Learners with a Language Assistance Program
  • Chapter 3: Tools and Resources for Staffing and Supporting an English Learner Program
  • Chapter 4: Tools and Resources for Providing English Learners Meaningful Access to Core Curricular and Extracurricular Programs
  • Chapter 5: Tools and Resources for Creating an Inclusive Environment for and Avoiding the Unnecessary Segregation of English Learners
  • Chapter 6: Tools and Resources for Addressing English Learners with Disabilities
  • Chapter 7: Tools and Resources for Serving English Learners Who Opt Out of EL Programs
  • Chapter 8: Tools and Resources for Monitoring and Exiting English Learners from EL Programs and Services
  • Chapter 9: Tools and Resources for Evaluating the Effectiveness of a District’s EL Program
  • Chapter 10: Tools and Resources for Ensuring Meaningful Communication with Limited English Proficient Parents

It has examples of home language surveys in multiple languages, specific tools and checklists under many of the chapters, recommendations, annotated resources, and much, much more – definitely a valuable resource!

Research-Based “Generic” Modifications for ELLs

This post has been copied from The Missouri EBI Network’s ELL page ( It is a summary of “generic” modifications that can be used by any teacher in any classroom, all of which are based on research to best assist English language learners.

Research-Based “Generic” Modifications Using Only English

 Predictable and consistent classroom management routines, aided by diagrams, lists, and easy-to-read schedules on the board or on charts, to which the teacher refers frequently.

 Graphic organizers that make content and the relationships among concepts and different lesson elements visually explicit.

 Additional opportunities for practice during the school day, after school, or for homework.

 Redundant key information (e.g., visual cues, pictures, and physical gestures) about lesson content and classroom procedures.

 Identifying, highlighting, and clarifying difficult words and passages within texts to facilitate comprehension and, more generally, greatly emphasizing vocabulary development.

 Helping students consolidate text knowledge by having the teacher, other students, and ELLs themselves summarize and paraphrase.

 Giving students extra practice in reading words, sentences, and stories to build automaticity and fluency.

 Providing opportunities for extended interactions with teacher and peers.

 Adjusting instruction (teacher vocabulary, rate of speech, sentence complexity, and expectations for student language production) according to students’ oral English proficiency.

 Targeting both content and English language objectives in every lesson.

 Use of reading materials that take into account students’ personal experiences, including relevant aspects of their cultural background, which aids their reading comprehension (although proficiency in the language of the text has a stronger influence on comprehension than familiarity with passage content).

Source: Goldenberg, C. (2010). Improving achievement for English learners: Conclusions from recent reviews and emerging research. In Li, G. & Edwards, P. A. (Eds.). Best Practices in ELL Instruction (15-43). New York, NY: The Guilford Press.

Apps for Vocabulary Acquisition

One of the most important aspect of English Language Learning is acquiring the vocabulary necessary to understand and speak the language. Unfortunately, vocabulary development is an ongoing process, and time, practice, and exposure are the best ways to develop vocabulary. Other than encouraging ELLs to continue practicing their speech aloud and interact with their peers, which can be crucial, teachers can also use technology to promote vocabulary acquisition. Specifically, the following iPad applications can be used as supplemental instruction tools during a differentiation time, or as recommendations to parents:

  • EnglishFirst High Flyers (2nd Edition) (link)
    • “The highly anticipated sequel to the #1 free education app in over 50 countries has arrived! Kids will master 1000 essential English words through hours of fun, engaging activities.”
    • Uses audio flash cards, colorful graphics, games, and different types of quizzes
    • Earn rewards through a star system and earning new characters
    • Free
    • provides more information on EnglishFirst
  • KidsVocab – MindSnacks (link)
    • KidsVocab uses games to promote understanding, rather than memorizing, new vocabulary words. Each lesson teaches spelling, usage, and pronunciation along with the words themselves based on a theme. The curriculum was based on common-core standards.
    • There are 9 different games to reduce repetition
    • Primarily for ages 7-12
    • There is frequent and immediate positive reinforcement, along with significant repetition and an engaging interface.
    • This application used to be free, but is now 1.99 for the full version (25 lessons).
  • Futuba (link)
    • 1-4 player game for kids
    • Primarily ages 4-8
    • Simple, fun way to learn English words -images come onto the playing area and players have to match the image to the word
    • Teachers can also create their own content and upload it to the app, if students need work with specific words
    • Competition can be fun and motivating, though it is important that pairs/groups aren’t imbalanced, making it less fun

Another list of apps can be found at This site gives a brief description of the app and its price.

Source (in addition to each app’s iTunes page): 

CasaNotes – Teacher-Parent Notes in Spanish

If you have a significant number of students who live in a home where the primary language is Spanish, it is our ethical duty to send notes home that are understandable to the parents.

CasaNotes – for Spanish-speaking families:

  • This website has basic templates of a variety of different types of notes, including field trip permission forms, a progress report, homework, “well done” aka praise, contracts, parent-teacher conferences, and more.
  • Each report can be easily printed in English and Spanish.
  • One flaw of the site is that though the specific content is editable (e.g. dates, times), the overall template is not.
  • I would recommend this resource for teachers who may not have a lot of time to create the individualized notes they would want.


This is my example of a note to send home for parent-teacher conferences. I was able to make this note in less than a minute – how’s that for  efficiency? This website is ideal for teachers with a large Spanish-speaking population but not a lot of time. I was unable to find any resources for other languages – if you read this any have any other advice, I would love to hear it! Otherwise, GoogleTranslate may be the best option, though their translations can often be inaccurate.