Acquired Brain Injury - Instructional Strategies

This page contains instructional strategies for faculty who have SF State students who have Acquired Brain Injuries, enrolled in their classes. The best instructional strategy is to facilitate the accommodations that the student is authorized for. You have the right to view the student's accommodation letter at any time. In addition, below are some strategies that some students have found helpful. Please contact the DPRC with any questions about these recommendations. Contact us at (415) 338-2472 or


Instructional Strategies

Because of the varied and complex manifestations of acquired brain injury, students with brain injuries often benefit from instructional strategies similar to those listed for other disabilities.  The following strategies are suggested to enhance accessibility of course instruction, materials, and activities.  They are general strategies designed to support individualized reasonable accommodations.

  • On your syllabus, include a Disability Access Statement inviting students with disabilities to request accommodations. DPRC has developed the following Disability Access Statement for course syllabi: "Students with disabilities who need reasonable accommodations are encouraged to contact the instructor. The Disability Programs and Resource Center is available to facilitate the reasonable accommodations process. The DPRC, located in SSB 110, can be reached by telephone at 338-2472 (voice/TTY) or by e-mail at"
  • Keep instructions brief and as uncomplicated as possible.
  • Allow the student to have a notetaker or lab assistant, if the student is eligible for these services.
  • Allow the student to  audio-record lectures.
  • Clearly define course requirements, the dates of exams, and when assignments are due; provide advance notice of any changes.
  • Provide handouts and visual aids.
  • Use more than one way to demonstrate or explain information.
  • Have copies of the syllabus ready three to five weeks prior to the beginning of classes so textbooks are available for  conversion to alternate media.
  • Break information into small steps when teaching many new tasks in one lesson (state objectives, review previous lesson, summarize periodically).
  • Allow time for clarification of directions and essential information.
  • Provide study guides or review sheets for exams.
  • Provide alternative ways for the students to do tasks, such as dictations or oral presentations.
  • As the semester progresses, verbal reminders in class of impending deadlines (e.g. "Remember, the problem sets are due Friday") are very helpful to students with acquired brain injuries.
  • Whenever possible, start each lecture with a summary of material to be covered or provide a written outline.  Broad margins and triple spacing on handouts enables students to take notes directly onto the outline, an aid to organization.  Provide a review of the major points at the conclusion of each lecture.
  • Avoid making assignments only in oral form, since students with traumatic brain injuries may miss them.  In addition to oral announcements, always write assignments on the board or pass them out in written form.
  • For large projects or long papers, students with acquired brain injuries benefit from assistance with breaking the task down into its component parts and setting deadlines for each part.
  • When in doubt about how to assist the student, ask him or her.
  • Allow the student the same anonymity as other students (i.e., avoid pointing out the student or the alternative arrangements to the rest of the class).


If your questions are not answered by what is in the information please contact the DPRC at (415) 338-2472 (voice/TTY) or