National Traumatic Brain Injury Awareness Month
National Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Awareness Month is observed every year in September. This observance serves to raise awareness about traumatic brain injuries, prevention strategies and treatment/management measures. There are various types and causes of TBIs, closed, penetrative, concussions, contusions and oxygen-related TBIs to name a few (Cary-Alvarez, n.d.). Closed traumatic brain injuries are a result of the brain hitting the skull due to direct impact whereas penetrative TBIs are cause by an external object penetrating both the skull and brain (Cary-Alvarez, n.d.). Concussions and contusions are also caused by impact but differ greatly. Concussions are widespread brain tissue damage. Contusions are bruised brain tissue in a specific area (Cary-Alvarez, n.d.). Oxygen-related brain injuries are a result of lack of oxygen or blood flow to the brain. Oxygen-related TBIs are typically referred to as acquired brain injuries (ABIs).
Disability Services serves a number of Georgia State students who have TBIs and/or ABIs. Currently, 3% of all students registered with Disability Services have been diagnosed with a TBI and/or an ABI (Disability Services, 2017). In the 2016-2017 academic year, 2.4% of the newly registered students who sought services from Disability Services had a traumatic or acquired brain injury (Disability Services, 2017). Students diagnosed with a TBI and/or an ABI may face unique and extensive academic challenges. Disability Services works to support these students by providing various resources to promote academic achievement. The department offers academic coaching to help registered students develop better study skills. The department’s academic coaches have compiled a few strategies for academic success specifically for students with a TBI and/or an ABI which are listed below.
Note Taking Strategies:
For taking effective and organized notes, students should do the following:
- Listen intentionally. Before attending class, students should review their syllabus to get familiar with the topics that will be covered. Then, they should ask themselves what information about the topic(s) they need/want to know in order to determine what they should be listening for. This will allow them to concentrate on jotting down only what is necessary and help them structure their notes better (University of Illinois, n.d.).
- Label notes by date and topic. Students should write the date and topic being covered on the very top of their notes. This allows them to easily and conveniently refer to the notes and find material when needed.
- Determine abbreviations for commonly used words. Knowing short forms of words (for example, “and” = &, “with” = “w/” allows students to be able to take notes more quickly and efficiently.
- Create a visual system for organizing notes. Writing headings, underlining or highlighting key points, and making diagrams or drawing pictures all make notes easier to follow.
- Write comments or questions during lecture. Students should keep noting down questions about material being presented to ask after class so that their concepts are clear (University of Illinois, n.d.).
- Make note of examples given. By reviewing these examples later, students are able to further understand the topic.
Skimming:Reading for Class
- read the chapter summary first
- read and process the headings and subheadings
- focus on words that are bold or italicized
- maximize retention by reading the first and last paragraphs and reading the first couple of sentences of every paragraph in between
Scanning:Reading for a Paper
- scan the needed readings to find information related to the assignment
- refer to the table of contents and the index to quickly find relevant information
Active Reading:Reading for an Exam
- Decide whether to read notes, textbook or supplemental readings first. They can determine this by reading which ever they seem to understand the most first (Wold, n.d.).
- review chapters or notes by looking at the headings, definitions, concepts and figures
- create study guides by turning headings and subheadings into questions and answers for better retention
- actively engage or converse with the text by making verbal and written questions or comments while reading for better retention