Thursday, January 17, 2013

Strategies for proactively assisting students with PTSD and TBI in the classroom

Prepared by the USD Fides program at CTL

Students with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) ace additional challenges in the classroom. Following are a number of instructional strategies that will accommodation students with PTSD and TBI as well as other students with disabilities in your classroom.
  • Design activities that build on previous ones. 
  • Permit flexibility in class session attendance schedules, as long as absences do not conflict with the core requirements of the class. 
  • Seek personal experiences of students with the subject or topic and then integrate those experiences into the course. 
  • Assist students in determining how they learn by using a learning styles inventory. 
  • Ensure that required texts are available in an accessible electronic format. 
  • Plan ahead to ensure all audio clips, videos, and movies are captioned, as many veterans have experienced hearing loss. They can also benefit from captioning to keep them on track. 
  • Provide handouts in a timely manner so that those needing to convert documents to an electronic format have time to do so. 
  • Provide an agenda or flowchart at the beginning of class, highlight the order of topics and connections, and state the purpose of the class. 
  • Permit in-class use of laptop computers for note taking. 
  • Permit the in-class use of tape recorders or other audio recording devices as memory aids. 
  • Be willing to wear FM microphones or be open to use of any other improved listening technology. 
  • Ask students to develop their own definitions of key topics rather than providing the definition—compare/contrast with “professional” or “textbook” definitions. 
  • Plan for student-owned course time, when students work in teams or give presentations. 
  • Utilize electronic platforms to store lecture notes, so that students may access the information through alternative electronic formats, as needed. 
  • Allow students to use index cards, blank paper, or a ruler to help keep their place on exams. 
  • Allow students to be able to use an index card with faculty-approved notes or build 
  • member joggers into the exams (if exams are necessary). 
  • Administer tests on the computer. 
  • Eliminate timed tests in favor of other assessment methods that do not penalize students who require extra time, low-distraction testing accommodations, or attendance flexibility, regardless of whether a disability has been identified. 
  • Allow students the ability to take a short break (5-10 minutes) during class sessions or testing environments when stressful situations arise. 
American Council on Education. (2008). Serving those who serve: Higher education and America’s veterans. Retrieved from NavigationMenu/ProgramsServices/MilitaryPrograms/serving/index.htm Burgstahler, S. E., & Cory, R. C. (Eds.). (2008). Universal design in higher education: From principles to
practice. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Education Press. 

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