Jump to content
Ads Keep HadIt.com Online. Consider Turning Off Ad Blockers to Keep HadIt.com Online! ×
  • 0

Acquired Brain Injury, Defined

Guest allanopie


Guest allanopie

Acquired Brain Injury, Defined

Acquired brain injury (ABI) is the leading killer and cause of disability in children and young adults. More than two million head injuries occur each year. Statistics show that the highest rate of injury occurs in young men between the ages of 15 and 24. As a result, there is an emerging population of students with ABI on the college campus today. Due to the symptoms associated with their brain injuries, the Disability Services (DS) provides academic and support services to these students.

ABI is an impairment of brain functioning that is physically or psychologically verifiable. Common causes of ABI are brain lesions caused by traumas such as motor vehicle accidents, falls, assaults and violence or sports injuries. Other brain lesions can be due to internal events such as focal brain lesions, tumors, cerebral vascular accidents, aneurysm or infections of the brain. Another cause of ABI is ingestion of toxic substances due to either alcohol or drug abuse or exposure to toxic chemicals.

Students who have experienced a brain injury often enter or return to college with cognitive, psychological and/or sensorimotor disorders. Problems in the cognitive area usually pose the greatest challenge in the classroom. Although students may experience cognitive problems in such areas as memory, attention, and organization, they may still possess the abilities to succeed in an academic environment.

Differences between Acquired Brain Injuries and Learning Disabilities:

Students with Acquired Brain Injuries (ABI) and Learning Disabilities (LD) may, on the surface, exhibit similar cognitive deficits. However, the National Head Injury Foundation (BIA) cautions us to be aware of each population's unique needs. The BIA states, ". the cognitive profiles of students with traumatic brain injuries differ in important ways from profiles of [students] with congenital learning disabilities or developmental delays.

It is also suggested that a neuropsychological assessment be performed by a professional trained in such assessments. According to the BIA, "it is most important that assessment and evaluation procedures be comprehensive and that those specialists administering such tests be acquainted with the unique needs of this population." (1988)

Service providers should be aware of the differences between students who have ABI and LD. Students with LD have usually lived with the disability all their lives. However, students with ABI have experienced a trauma and must reorient their lives accordingly.

Differences between ABI and LD:

1. ABI can have an academic profile which changes frequently as recovery occurs over time necessitating ongoing program changes. This invalidates a rigidly sequential curricula for most ABI.

2. There is unpredictable progress for months and years after the injury, based on the neurologic recovery. Therefore, the pattern of academic functioning over time may be quite different than most LD.

3. Assuming there was pre-traumatic mastery of a process or concept, ABI often reacquire some material rapidly despite significant processing and learning problems acquired after the injury. The curricular emphasis for LD is thus inappropriate for ABI.

4. In the early months following ABI, there is more confusion, disorientation and lack of control than LD. Further, ABI might be more impulsive, hyperactive, distractible, verbally intrusive and socially inappropriate than LD.

5. Students with ABI may have to change a thoroughly habituated learning style that is no longer useful after the injury.

6. There are different emotional stresses in that ABI have to deal with a loss of capacity along with ongoing experiences of failure and frustration.

7. There are more extreme discrepancies in ability levels for ABI.

8. ABI may have more problems generalizing and integrating information. ABI may need more individualized teaching, reteaching and monitoring.

9. ABI may need ongoing monitoring of tasks requiring independent thinking and judgment.

10. ABI may have difficulty processing information because their comprehension is decreased with more complex material.

11. ABI may need more compensatory strategies because of impaired memory, problems with word retrieval, information processing and communication.

12. ABI may have more difficulty with organization of thoughts, cause- effect relationships and problem-solving.

13. ABI may be resistant to new, easier techniques and learning strategies because they want to use their pre-trauma techniques and strategies.

Students who have ABI may have problems in the following areas:


communication and language


comprehension (especially learning new information) perception

short attention span



expressive language skills

organization, planning, and decision making

judgment and reasoning

flexibility (adjusting to change)

studying and academic skills


vision, hearing, and speech


balance, strength, and equilibrium

limited movement/motor function - walking, writing

eye-hand coordination

spatial orientation


fatigue (sleep disturbances)







self-esteem self-control awareness of self and others

interest in activities and social involvement

family relationships

age-appropriate behavior

post-traumatic stress disorder

social isolation




visual distraction

unexpected change (class location moved, class canceled, etc.)

inadequate support/information/transportation

misunderstanding by others/rejection

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Answers 0
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Popular Days

Popular Days

0 answers to this question

Recommended Posts

There have been no answers to this question yet

This topic is now closed to further replies.

  • veterans-crisis-line.jpg
    The Veterans Crisis Line can help even if you’re not enrolled in VA benefits or health care.


  • question-001.jpeg

    Have Questions? Get Answers.

    Tips on posting on the forums.

    1. Post a clear title like ‘Need help preparing PTSD claim’ or “VA med center won’t schedule my surgery instead of ‘I have a question.
    2. Knowledgeable people who don’t have time to read all posts may skip yours if your need isn’t clear in the title.
      I don’t read all posts every login and will gravitate towards those I have more info on.
    3. Use paragraphs instead of one massive, rambling introduction or story.
      Again – You want to make it easy for others to help. If your question is buried in a monster paragraph, there are fewer who will investigate to dig it out.
    Leading too:

    exclamation-point.pngPost straightforward questions and then post background information.
    • Question A. I was previously denied for apnea – Should I refile a claim?
      • Adding Background information in your post will help members understand what information you are looking for so they can assist you in finding it.
    Rephrase the question: I was diagnosed with apnea in service and received a CPAP machine, but the claim was denied in 2008. Should I refile?
    • Question B. I may have PTSD- how can I be sure?
      • See how the details below give us a better understanding of what you’re claiming.
    Rephrase the question: I was involved in a traumatic incident on base in 1974 and have had nightmares ever since, but I did not go to mental health while enlisted. How can I get help?
    This gives members a starting point to ask clarifying questions like “Can you post the Reasons for Denial of your claim?”
    • Your first posts on the board may be delayed before they appear as they are reviewed. This process does not take long.
    • Your first posts on the board may be delayed before they appear as they are reviewed. The review requirement will usually be removed by the 6th post. However, we reserve the right to keep anyone on moderator preview.
    • This process allows us to remove spam and other junk posts before hitting the board. We want to keep the focus on VA Claims, and this helps us do that.
  • Most Common VA Disabilities Claimed for Compensation:   


  • VA Watchdog

  • Can a 100 percent Disabled Veteran Work and Earn an Income?

    employment 2.jpeg

    You’ve just been rated 100% disabled by the Veterans Affairs. After the excitement of finally having the rating you deserve wears off, you start asking questions. One of the first questions that you might ask is this: It’s a legitimate question – rare is the Veteran that finds themselves sitting on the couch eating bon-bons … Continue reading

  • Create New...

Important Information

{terms] and Guidelines