What Are Multidisciplinary and Ecobehavioral Approaches? and How Can They Make a Difference for Students with Traumatic Brain Injuries?
Doelling, Jane, Bryde, Suzanne, Parette, Howard P., Jr., Teaching Exceptional Children
With the reauthorization of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 1990 (IDEA), traumatic brain injury (TBI) was included as a specific disability category. This resulted in a marked increase in the number of these students receiving special education services in public school settings in recent years. Researchers such as Eiben and colleagues (1984); Wasko (1992); and Mira, Tucker, and Tyler (1992) have reported on the numbers and needs of these students.
This article shows how teachers may use multidisciplinary, observational approaches to help students with traumatic brain injury-and many other studentssucceed in school.
What Are the Needs of Students with Traumatic Brain Injury?
Teachers familiar with the characteristics of students with TBI often report classroom difficulties experienced by these students in neuromotor/sensory functioning, cognition, communication, academic skills, and social/behavioral performance (Mira et al., 1992; Savage & Wolcott, 1994) (see Table 1).
In providing special education services for students with TBI, many teachers and schools seem to equate the needs of these students with those with learning disabilities. We should remember, however, that students with TBI often have more variability in abilities than do students with learning disabilities (Smith & Luckasson, 1995). Students with TBI may have reduced stamina, seizure, headaches, and vision and hearing problems (Tyler & Miles, 1991). They may tire easily, have difficulty adjusting to their disability, display frustrations in response to classroom demands, and exhibit lowered self-esteem. Such behaviors require simple adjustments and accommodations to special education programming strategies.
What Strategies Can Ensure Success for Students with Traumatic Brain Injury?
Teachers must use ongoing, multidisciplinary assessment strategies when developing effective educational programming for students with TBI. We recommend an ecobehavioral approach, which emphasizes how the student functions in the classroom environment. Ecobehavioral observation focuses on the interactions among and between teachers and students in the classroom, the physical environment, time allowed for instruction, and instructional content.
Ecobehavioral observation assists in developing appropriate instructional strategies, providing effective behavior management, and examining the effect of instruction on student outcomes (Salvia & Ysseldyke, 1995). Table 2 shows some examples of the effects of TBI and suggests accommodations that focus on the following:
Ecological variables, such as teacher behaviors and expectations.
Classroom activities, including presentation of tasks, pacing of lessons, and classroom/instructional groupings.
Need for assistive technology.
(See box page 60, "Planning Resources," for a list of references that may assist in making accommodations.)
Varying levels of head injury in children result in a range of characteristics and resulting needs (Mira et al., 1992). As Table 2 shows, however, teachers may consider broad programming suggestions as they plan strategies for success. The following guidelines may help in planning.
Identify Transition Goals
Include transition goals and objectives in the students's individualized education program (IEP). These objectives should address long-term life goals, as well as more immediate transition needs. Review and revise these plans frequently; as students continue to recover from their injuries, they may display rapid behavioral and educationally relevant changes (Savage & Mishkin, 1994).
Specifically, the IEP transition plans should include self-advocacy, community access, and leisure skill development. The plan should address specific skills needed for success in the immediate and future environments, …
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Publication information: Article title: What Are Multidisciplinary and Ecobehavioral Approaches? and How Can They Make a Difference for Students with Traumatic Brain Injuries?. Contributors: Doelling, Jane - Author, Bryde, Suzanne - Author, Parette, Howard P., Jr. - Author. Magazine title: Teaching Exceptional Children. Volume: 30. Issue: 1 Publication date: September/October 1997. Page number: 56+. © Council for Exceptional Children Jan/Feb 2009. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All Rights Reserved.
This material is protected by copyright and, with the exception of fair use, may not be further copied, distributed or transmitted in any form or by any means.