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Cognitive Curriculum for Students with Traumatic Brain Injury Overview -- SHNIC Educators Information

The following curriculum guide was designed to assist educators in developing appropriate educational goals for students who have sustained traumatic brain injuries (TBI).

What is generally referred to as "cognition" is a complex collection of mental skills, including attention, perception, memory, language skills and executive functions. These mental attributes allow each of us to make sense of our surroundings and function within them. Students who have sustained brain injury typically suffer loss or alteration of one or more of these skills. This Cognitive Curriculum for Students with TBI provides a scope and sequence of cognitive functions.

This curriculum would not be functional if not embedded within a more traditional scope and sequence of academic skills or content. Therefore, while moving through appropriate levels of an academic curriculum, goals and objectives of the Cognitive Curriculum for Students with TBI are employed to promote progress.

Several factors affect where a student fits within the scope and sequence of the Cognitive Curriculum for Students with TBI. The first consideration is developmental. That is, students' goals and objectives will be based on normal cognitive growth and development within each domain. Other considerations are pre-injury functioning in intellectual, academic and adaptive domains. When data is available as to the student's pre-injury functioning, this information may support not only a particular placement within the Cognitive Curriculum scope and sequence, but also guide goals and objectives toward either recoupement or compensatory training. The third factor to be considered is the brain injury itself. Injury severity (whether it was focal or diffuse), the primary areas of the brain affected and the resultant cognitive deficits guide the experienced therapists and teachers as to what parts of the scope and sequence will be appropriate.

Cognitive rehabilitation should follow two parallel paths. The first goal is for the recoupement of academic and functional skills lost due to the traumatic brain injury. Secondly, where deficits are found, the student should be taught compensatory strategies. The Cognitive Curriculum for Students with TBI provides the framework for the assessment, goal setting and treatment of cognitive impairments secondary to neurologic insult such as traumatic brain injury.

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