Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)

TBI Education

The State of Ohio has very specific guidelines for working with individuals with disabilities including TBI that school districts and educators must follow. An explanation of these guidelines can be found in Whose IDEA Is This? A Resource Guide for Parents (available at your child's school).

Medical and education professionals may not realize that a student's difficulties can be caused by a childhood brain injury. Often, students with TBI are thought to have a learning disability, emotional disturbance, or mental retardation. As a result, they don't receive the specific type of educational help and support they need.

When children with TBI return to school, their educational and emotional needs are often very different than before the injury. Usually, their disability has happened suddenly and traumatically. They can often remember how they were before the brain injury, which can bring on many emotional and social changes. The child's family, friends, and teachers also recall what the child was like before the injury. These people in the child's life may have trouble changing or adjusting their expectations of the child.

Therefore, it is extremely important to plan carefully for the child's return to school. The school will need to thoroughly evaluate the child within 60 days of receiving parental consent for evaluation. This evaluation will let the school and parents know what the child's educational needs are. The school and parents will then develop an Individualized Education Program (IEP) that addresses those educational needs.

It is important to remember that the IEP is a flexible plan. It can be changed as the parents, the school, and the student learn more about what the student needs at school.

Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA, 2004)

IDEA is a federal law that guarantees a free and appropriate public education for every child with a disability. This means that if you enroll your child in public school, his/her education should be at no cost to you and should be appropriate for his/her age, ability and developmental level. IDEA is an amended version of the Education for All Handicapped Children Act (P.L. 94-142), passed in 1975. In 1997, IDEA was reauthorized (P.L. 105-17), further defining children's rights to educational services and strengthening the role of parents in the educational planning process for their children (Autism Society of America web site:

Each school district must ensure that to the maximum extent appropriate, children with disabilities, including children in public or private institutions or other care facilities, are educated with children who are nondisabled; and

Those special classes, separate schooling, or other removal of children with disabilities from the regular educational environment occur only if the nature or severity of the disability is such that education in the regular classes with the use of supplementary aids and services cannot be achieved satisfactorily.

Building the Legacy: IDEA 2004

Individualized Education Plan (IEP)

IEP is a written document that outlines a child's education. As the name implies, the educational program should be tailored to the individual student to provide maximum educational benefit. The key word is individual. A program that is appropriate for one child with autism may not be appropriate for another (Autism Society of America web

Parents' Rights

According to IDEA (2004), parents have the right to have:

  • an interpreter when your first language is not English and you feel uncomfortable speaking English for communication during IEP meetings
  • any individual (for example, your extended family member, friend, or neighbor) participate in an IEP meeting who can help developing an IEP for your child
  • access to any information you need to know about your child, especially when you give consent to school. IDEA 2004 requires schools to get informed consent from parents before the initial evaluation of the child and before implementing special education services in the IEP.
  • research-based methodology and evaluation procedures written into your child's IEP
  • the child's regular education teacher(s) participate in IEP meetings

More Information


Building the Legacy: IDEA 2004