Paula's Special Ed Resources

Vocational Preparation

for Students with Traumatic Brain Injury

Students with TBI differ from others with disabilities in that they do not experience well defined progress and vary widely in their levels of learning difficulty.

Transitional programs that stress career education and job training may be particularly critical for students who suddenly find themselves at a different functional level than they anticipated before injury. (school to work class and on the job training experiences)

Knowledge of the student's strengths and weaknesses as well as motivation for employment will help shape realistic vocational goals.

After determining interest and job-related skills, the student may need the opportunity to practice vocational components in a structured setting with opportunities for observational learning and feedback.

Environmental structure will also need to be reviewed in career or vocational programming for students with TBI.

Modeled experiences, job-shadowing, on-the-job training, and internships can ease the individual into the working world.

Vocational educators can help the students organize their time and practice key skills, as well as work with employers to prepare them for the needs of employees with TBI.

Routine is extremely important, as are clear expectations for behavior. Traditional behavior techniques may not be effect with students who have experienced TBI because such techniques require the child to remember cause-effect relations. In addition these students do not respond to subtle cues.

Because social behaviors might be impaired by the injury, the development of interpersonal and vocational relationships need to be addressed. Some students with TBI many need very concrete lessons in appropriate social behavior. Some students' behavior after injury may appear immature and inappropriate.

Devising cues, providing clear expectations and explanations, and offering opportunities for practice will all need to be included in a comprehensive program.

With job training, productivity levels and work schedules may need to be adjusted.

Practice with and repetition of activities, as well as feedback on performance, also can strengthen the students confidence.

Whenever possible, activities pertinent to everyday living should be incorporated into the curriculum.

It is critical to work with student using competencies that have been maintained. This is important because extensive practice will never help certain skills to develop in some students with TBI.

Memory deficits are not amenable to restorative techniques. Instead the use of external memory aids in combination with specialized instructional strategies appears to hold the most promise for rehabilitation of memory in both children and adults.

Text References for this page

How Education Should Respond to Students with Traumatic Brain Injury Rik Carl D'Amato and Barbara Rothlisberg Journal of Learning Disabilities vol. 29, no 6 Nov. 1996 p 670-683

Management of Attention and Memory Disorders Following Traumatic Brain Injury Catherine A. Mateer, Kimberly A. Kerns, and Karen L. Eso Journal of Learning Disabilities vol. 29, no. 6, Nov. 1996 p 618-632