Brain Injuries

Brain injuries are usually thought of as either traumatic brain injuries (TBI), caused by a blow to the brain by some sort of physical force, or acquired brain injuries (ABI), caused by internal disturbance or physiological changes of the brain, including strokes, brain tumors, infection, poisoning, hypoxia, ischemia, or substance abuse. Brain injuries may result in physical impairments, cognitive impairments, or psychological impairments.

For students who have physical impairments due to a brain injury, such as mobility impairments or visual loss, the diagnosis should be made by a neurologist or other appropriate health care practitioner. Please follow the guidelines listed below to address the information the DRC needs to provide the student with appropriate accommodations:

  1. Prepare documentation on professional letterhead, with the dates of assessment, signatures, and license numbers or credentials of the diagnosing professional.
  2. State the diagnosis and corresponding code from the most recent Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) or the appropriate ICD-9 code. Include a statement of the functional impacts or limitations on learning or other major life activity related to the disability.
  3. Recommend accommodations and include a rationale that is related to the student’s limitations.
  4. For students who have cognitive impairments due to a brain injury, such as difficulties in speech-language communication, memory, attention, concentration, reasoning, abstract thinking, psychosocial behavior, and information processing, a neuropsychological evaluation is ideal. Please follow the guidelines above along with those below to address the information the DRC needs to provide the student with appropriate accommodations:
  5. A thorough neuropsychological evaluation of cognitive abilities to determine the appropriate academic accommodations needed.
  6. An assessment of cognitive and psychological strengths and limitations, readiness for college, learning style, interests and individual needs.
  7. The report should make recommendations regarding appropriate academic accommodations such as testing adaptations and learning strategies.

It is important that the neuropsychological evaluation be performed by a person trained in such assessments. The DRC recommends professionals with a Ph.D. in Neuropsychology or in Clinical or Counseling Psychology with post-doctoral training in Neuropsychology. Also recommended is membership in a neuropsychology professional group such as INS, NAN, or Division 40 of the APA.

If a student has not had neuropsychological testing, the DRC will offer a list of qualified evaluators in the community.

For students who have psychological disorders, such as depression, psychosocial behavior difficulties, or personality change as a result of a brain injury, a neuropsychological evaluation is appropriate.
 

Health Professionals – Detailed Guidelines

Comprehensive and detailed documentation enables the Disability Resource Center to determine appropriate accommodations for individual students on a case by case basis.  Please address the following items.

A clear diagnostic statement and date of diagnosis

A description of the diagnostic criteria, evaluation methods, tests and dates of administration, and/or a clinical narrative

A description of how the disability impacts the student and the severity of the functional limitations

This area forms one of the key elements for determining the severity of the patient’s disability on the patient’s ability to learn.  Please list all of this client’s symptoms (functional limitations) thus lending more support that the student’s disability impacts learning so that accommodations can be based on these symptoms or functional limitations.

Information on the cyclical or episodic nature of the disability and suspected environmental triggers to episodes

A description of current medications and any adverse side effects

Please list medications that may have side effects.  For example, some medications can make a person drowsy which could impact the speed for completing tasks which would support extended time for tests.

Recommendations for accommodations and support services that are logically related to the functional limitations (extended time on tests, low distraction environment, notetakers, etc.)

 

This last part provides logical support for accommodations based on the patient’s functional limitations (symptoms).  For instance, if the student has Crohn’s Disease the student may needs bathroom breaks they may need extra time on tests or breaks on tests where the clock stops or possibly breaks during class. For instance, if the student is noted to have “difficulty sustaining attention,” they may need assistance in taking notes in class or need audible textbooks.  Many students with ADHD must read materials several times to get the meaning.  If the student is “easily distracted by extraneous stimuli,” they may need a low distraction environment and/or additional time on tests. The more complete and detailed your report the better able we are in determining appropriate academic accommodations for your patient.

Please return this information in a letter that is typed, dated, and on letterhead to the address listed below or fax it to (706)542-7719.

If you have any questions, please contact the intake coordinator at 706-542-8719.

Last revised on 3 August 2016

Contact the DRC

***We Are Back in Clark Howell Hall***

Clark Howell Hall
825 South Lumpkin Street

VOICE: (706) 542-8719
FAX: (706) 542-7719
TTY: (706) 542-8778

drc@uga.edu

Our offices are available Monday-Friday 8:00 am to 5:00 pm.