Traumatic Brain Injury


To ensure any school in Arizona is able to receive competent technical assistance in order to meet the needs of children who have sustained traumatic brain injuries.

What’s New?

  • TBI Bill Passes the House: – November 2014
    • The U.S. House of Representatives passed S. 2539, the TBI Reauthorization Act of 2014, co-sponsored by Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and  Senator Bob Casey (D-PA). The bill will now go to the president for his signature. The bill removes HHS’ Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) from sections relating to state Protection & Advocacy grant programs, leaving the administering agency to be determined by the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS). The bill calls for the HHS Secretary to develop a TBI coordination plan and directs the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to conduct a scientific review of the management of children with a TBI.A summary of the bill that was posted on Thomas, the Library of Congress’ legislative website is below:Traumatic Brain Injury Reauthorization Act of 2014 – (Sec. 2) Amends the Public Health Service Act to reauthorize through FY2019 traumatic brain injury (TBI) prevention and surveillance or registry programs.(Sec. 3) Reauthorizes through FY2019 the programs of grants to states and Indian consortia for TBI services, and protection and advocacy systems to provide services to individuals with TBI.(Sec. 5) Directs the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) to develop a plan for the improved coordination of federal activities with respect to TBI that will:
      • review interagency coordination efforts;
      • identify areas for improved coordination between federal agencies and programs, including those with a focus on serving individuals with disabilities;
      • identify adopted recommendations from the report on development and improvement of TBI diagnostic tools and treatments and describe plans to address each recommendation that has not been adopted; and
      • incorporate feedback from stakeholders, including individuals with TBI and their caregivers.

      (Sec. 6) Directs the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to review the scientific evidence related to brain injury management in children and identify opportunities for research.


(a) Means an acquired injury to the brain that is caused by an external physical force and that results in total or partial functional disability or psychosocial impairment, or both, that adversely affects educational performance.
(b) Applies to open or closed head injuries resulting in mild, moderate, or severe impairments in one or more areas, including cognition, language, memory, attention, reasoning, abstract thinking, judgment, problem solving, sensory, perceptual and motor abilities, psychosocial behavior, physical function, information processing, and speech.
(c) Does not include brain injuries that are congenital or degenerative or brain injuries induced by birth trauma. (A.R.S. § 15-761)

Eligibility Criteria:

The determination of eligibility for special education is based on an evaluation pursuant to A.R.S. § 15-766 and the following requirements:

  • The student has an acquired open or closed injury to the brain that was caused by an external physical force that has resulted in total or partial functional disability or psychosocial impairment, or both, that adversely affects performance in the educational environment. Resulting impairments include such areas of disability as cognition, language, memory, attention, reasoning, behaviors, physical function, information processing, and speech.
    • The injury is not congenital or degenerative or induced by birth trauma.
    • The injury has been verified by a doctor of medicine or doctor of osteopathy.
    • The student was evaluated in all areas related to the suspected disability.

TBI Determination of Eligibility Form

Program Description
The Arizona Department of Education/Exceptional Student Services contracts with a training consultant to provide training services to Arizona educators, parents, and interested community members in the basics of working with students with traumatic brain injuries in school and community settings. There are approximately 21 free training sessions per year, geared to all levels of learners.

Learning Opportunities Provided by ADE/ESS

      Training goals include:

      • Educate local professionals (educators and related service personnel) on the core issues related to TBI
      • Increase awareness of the need to identify students with TBI currently in the schools
      • Increase capacity of professionals to assess, accurately determine eligibility, and provide appropriate services to students with TBI
      • Increase ability to effectively participate in MET meetings and analyze assessment data to appropriately plan for services and accommodations
      • Expand knowledge about existing resources

Training Information:

Trainings are provided by Dr. Susan Wolf, Executive Director of Wattle and Daub Research. For a training schedule or registration information, contact Jeannette Zemeida via email or by telephone at 602-542-3855.

Brain Injury Resources

      • Arizona Governor’s Council on Spinal and Head Injuries – 602-863-0484
      • Brain Injury Association of AZ –  1-888-500-9165
      • Brain Injury Association of America –  1-800-444-6443
      • Arizona Department of Health Services, Office for Children with Special Health Care Needs, TBI/SCI/CYSHCN (Traumatic Brain Injury/Spinal Cord Injury/Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs) Service Coordination Program – 602-364-1488 – Lynn O’Malia, Program Manager
      • State Vocational Rehabilitation, Independent Living Rehabilitation Services and Vocational Rehabilitation’s TBI Specialists Program – 602-863-0484 – Rebecca Burch
      • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
      • National Association of State Head Injury Administrators
        • Fact sheets on traumatic brain injury including overview, neurobehavioral health, emergency medical services, and many more: