14. Special Education Overidentification 2011: TBI

The TBI category receives relatively little attention in the posted literature of internet texts, and overidentification as a subtopic is not discussed.  Perhaps it is because headshot wounds, accidents, trauma and sports injuries are more easily understood as to causation and severity than are long-standing developmental disabilities.  And it is common knowledge that natural recovery among  young people (brains) is strong when trauma is focal or minimal.  Teachers receive word, for example, that academic improvement should take place steadily and even rapidly during a post-trauma period of six months.  A “wait and see” approach might cut down on the number of referrals for special education, and case monitoring is a logical solution without intervention.  TBI as a category represents only a sliver of American pupils compared to other categories of disability.

According to the Center for Public Education, 1 percent of disabled school children are in the TBI category.

Recent talk in the sports press has given emphasis to head concussion during football games.  Individuals are said to be “concussed.”  Awareness is growing but there is the opinion too many coaches prematurely put a “concussed” player back in the game when too little is known.  High school football players with TBI likely go undetected because young sportsmen are thought to be healthy enough to overcome bumps on the head.  Symptoms for one event can be mild and temporary.  Long-term effects of a series of concussions are not understood. 

Special education: At a glance / The Center for Public Education

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