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Traumatic Brain Injury

CONTACT :: Lynn Makor, Consultant for School Psychology
Dreama McCoy, Section Chief

What is a Traumatic Brain Injury?

The NC Policies Governing Services for Children with Disabilities (NC Policies) were amended in October 2013. The most current definition of a traumatic brain injury, according to the policies is as follows:

Traumatic brain injury means an acquired injury to the brain caused by an external physical force or by an internal occurrence resulting in total or partial functional disability and/or psychosocial impairment that adversely affects a child's educational performance. Causes may include but are not limited to, open or closed head injuries, cerebrovascular accidents (e.g., stroke, aneurysm), infections, kidney or heart failure, electric shock, anoxia, tumors, metabolic disorders, toxic substances, or medical or surgical treatments. The brain injury can occur in a single event or can result from a series of events (e.g., multiple concussions). Traumatic brain injury also can occur with or without a loss of consciousness at the time of injury. Traumatic brain injury may result in impairments in one or more areas, such as cognition; language; memory; attention; reasoning; abstract thinking; judgment; problem-solving; sensory, perceptual, and motor abilities; psychosocial behavior; physical functions; information processing; and speech. Traumatic brain injury does not apply to brain injuries that are congenital or degenerative, but can include brain injuries induced by birth trauma.


The current NC Policies indicate that “all school psychologists providing assessment of children with Traumatic Brain Injury must meet the guidelines of the Exceptional Children Division for training in the assessment of Traumatic Brain Injury and be listed on the Exceptional Children Division's registry of approved providers (hereafter referred to as the registry)" (p. 73). Since 1993, the NCDPI Exceptional Children Division has maintained the registry of approved providers. Previously, the training referenced in the NC Policies referred to additional face-to-face didactic training and case-based supervision in working with students who have sustained a traumatic brain injury. In collaboration with the Carolina Institute for Developmental Disabilities, the Exceptional Children Division has recently created an online curriculum for school psychologists, and anyone interested in learning more about TBI including teachers, administrators, parents, students, etc., that replaces the didactic training. School psychologists who complete and pass the online curriculum are eligible to participate in 30 hours of supervision with an approved supervisor. Approved supervisors are pediatric neuropsychologists in the community who have experience working with students with TBI and with schools.

Becoming an Approved Provider (TBI Certified School Psychologist)

Please see the flowchart illustrating the process of becoming an approved provider below.

To view the online curriculum, search the registry of approved providers and supervisors, and obtain additional information and resources for TBI, visit the following link:

NCDPI: Revised TBI Definition




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