ABI & Education
ABI stands for Acquired Brain Injury. Such an injury may be sustained shortly after birth right through to adolescence and beyond. It could be through physical injuries – known as TBI, or traumatic brain injury – or through an illness of some sort – non-TBI, such as meningitis, brain tumours or E. coli. These injuries can have devastating consequences on a child, not only in the short term, but far into their future as well. The brain is a delicate organ, and when it’s injured it’s generally irreversible.
For children who have sustained an ABI, it’s a scary and confusing experience, and in order to help them, it’s essential that their parents or carers understand their injuries. You can be your child's best helper and teacher by getting a clearer understanding of their injuries and learning more about ABI. The links below offer some advice.
ABI in the primary phase
Pupils in primary schools usually have one or, at most, two teachers and have most of their lessons in the same room. They are generally provided with the equipment which they need which is kept in carefully labelled drawers and cupboards. All this provides a secure basis for learning in all areas. However the effects of an ABI may still be seen. Some pupils find the skills of reading and number very difficult after ABI; when they have not learned to read or handle numbers as would be expected for their age, help is at hand in the form of a Lifeboat. Currently we have Lifeboats for Reading, Numeracy and Social Skills. We are developing a Lifeboat for Comprehension; the advice sheets below provide a flavour of the Lifeboats.
ABI in the secondary phase
Pupils in secondary schools are faced with new demands; they have to get to the right lesson at the right time, with all the necessary equipment. Then they have to adjust to the different styles and expectations of up to 10 teachers. Homework is more demanding and despite the best efforts of school managers, all the tasks may be due at the same time.
After an ABI a pupil may experience difficulties with learning in the classroom. These are addressed by SHIPS Lifeboats. SHIPS has Lifeboats for Teenagers for Reading Skills, Maths, ABI awareness and Social Skills. Click here for more details.
Recommended Reading about Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) and Education
Unfortunately there are not many books about ABI and education specifically, especially from a UK perspective. However there is one which SHIPS recommends should be on every school bookshelf. It is Walker & Wicks (2005) Educating children with Acquired Brain Injury: David Fulton
The Acquirer was a magazine for those involved with the education of children, young people and adults after an ABI. Although it is no longer published, back copies are available. For further information click here to visit The Acquirer website
More general books worth reading include:
- Ylvisaker, M. (1998) Traumatic Brain Injury Rehabilitation: Children and Adolescents pub Butterworth Heinemann
- Semrud-Clikeman (2001) Traumatic Brain Injury in children and adolescents: assessment and intervention pub. Guildford Press
SHIPS information sheets
There are also information sheets on the parents' page. Click here
- What is ABI?
- Teaching and Learning after ABI
- Returning to school after ABI
- Classroom communication after ABI
- Art & Music after ABI
About social behaviours
- Teaching prosocial behaviours after ABI
- Dealing with bullying
- Behaviour management after ABI
- Making and keeping friends after ABI
About underlying skills for learning
- Attention after ABI
- Working on attention and concentration skills
- Use of routines after ABI
- Learning to choose after an ABI
- Rehabilitation through education after-ABI - a paper given at the International HOPE conference, November 2006
- Is ABI a unique disability? - from The Acquirer Vol 3 (3) Summer 2006
- What's in a label? - from The Acquirer Vol 3 (3) Summer 2006
- The classical classroom: enhancing learning for pupils with Acquired Brain Injury - from Journal of Research in Special Educational Needs Vol 8 (2) 2008
- Redesigning the scaffolding metaphor to suit pupils with acquired brain injury - from European Journal of Special Needs Education Vol 23 (4) November 2008 pp 379-392
- Thinking allowed: use of egocentric speech after acquired brain injury -from International Journal of Inclusive Education, 2011, 1-15 iFirst article
- Where have they all gone? Classroom attention patterns after Acquired Brain Injury - from Journal of Research in Special Educational Needs Vol 16 (3) 2016
- John learns to read - from The Acquirer Vol 2 (1)
- Moving on to college - from The Acquirer Vol 3(1)
- Social Skills after ABI - Picking up the ground-rules - from HIRE magazine Autumn 2002
- Injury Time - from SEN Magazine January 2016