Student Support

Comparison with Specific Learning Disabilities


On the surface, problems encountered by the person who has survived a head injury may seem like those common to students with learning disabilities. Many of the academic modifications listed for students with learning disabilities will also be appropriate for students with head injuries. Whereas similarities exist, there are important differences which have significance on effective programming.

Compared to students with learning disabilities, the student with an acquired brain injury may
*Be more impulsive, hyperactive, distractible, verbally intrusive, and/or socially inappropriate

*Have discrepancies in ability levels that are more extreme and harder to understand, such as reading comprehension at a level four years lower than spelling ability

*Learn some material rapidly, since they may need only to be reacquainted with a process or concept which they knew pre-injury

*Have more severe problems generalizing and integrating skills or information

*Resist new learning strategies which seem too elementary (not accepting the changes caused by the injury)
*Be unable to process information presented through usual remedial strategies because comprehension may deteriorate as the amount and complexity of material increases

*Require a wider variety of strategies to compensate for impaired memory and problems with word retrieval, information processing and communication

*Have more pronounced difficulty with organization of thoughts, cause effect relationships, and problem solving;

*Require on-going monitoring of tasks using independent thinking and judgment

*Retain the pre-trauma self-concept of a student without a disability and have difficulty accepting that abilities and behaviors have changed and need to be adjusted

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