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Australian Disability Clearinghouse on Education and Training
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Disability Specific Adjustments: Acquired Brain Injury

Acquired brain injury (ABI) is any type of injury to the brain that occurs after birth. It can result from  trauma, hypoxia, infection, substance abuse, degenerative neurological disease or stroke. 

The impact depends not only on the cause, but also on which area of the brain suffers damage. ABI can affect a person’s physical, cognitive or emotional functions or, in some cases, all three. This can have serious consequences for the person's level of independence.

It is common for many people with ABI to experience increased mental and physical fatigue and some slowing down in the speed with which they process information and solve problems. They may experience changes in their behaviour and personality, physical and sensory abilities, or thinking and learning.  These can result in significant implications for full participation in education, employment and other aspects of life. Relationships with families, friends and carers can also be affected by behavioural personality and changes.

Disability Practitioner Strategies

There are a range of services and equipment that are commonly facilitated by Disability Practitioners as reasonable adjustments for students with Acquired Brain Injury.  

These include:

  • Access to copy of Peer lecture notes
  • Professional note-taker for lectures, practicals or tutorials
  • Access to Student Access Study Centre (SASC)
  • Provision of a Practical Assistant within laboratories
  • Access to Assistive Technology, for example speech recognition, or screen reader and word prediction
  • Access to information in electronic formats
  • Arrangement of case management to assist studies and assess regular process
  • Access to Student Access Study Centre
  • Arranging the specific scheduling of  tutorial allocations
  • Informing Academic staff that students may at times be accompanied by support persons
  • Arrangement for student to meet with faculty to identify strategies for accommodating the implications of the disability in relation to the inherent requirements of any required practicums
  • Access to Assistive Technology or scribe in examinations
  • Examination timetable to allow for adequate time between exams and are scheduled for times that maximise student’s energy levels due to health condition, that is morning or afternoon exams
  • Provision for moving around in class and examinations, for example stretching, lying on floor
  • Provision for additional toilet breaks during examinations

As a disability practitioner it may be helpful to be aware of inclusive teaching and assessment strategies that can assist all students. ADCET has identified some specific strategies that may be useful for students with an acquired brain injury.   ABI Inclusive Teaching and Assessment Strategies