Tips, Contacts, and Tools for State Agencies

National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities (NICHCY), Academy for Educational Development and the Office of Special Education Programs of the U.S. Department of Education.
Tips, Contacts, and Tools for State Agencies


The purpose of this tool kit is to support your State's traumatic brain injury (TBI) program in developing relationships with your State's departments of education and special education and other key children and youth organizations. The tips, contacts, and tools provided will allow you to increase their knowledge of children and youth and traumatic brain injury—ultimately to achieve the goals of identifying all students with traumatic brain injury and building the capacity within your State to appropriately serve them.

To serve students with traumatic brain injury effectively, it is essential that a relationship between the State TBI program and the State department of education and/or special education be developed and maintained. The spectrum of relationship development is broad with myriad phases from non-existent to mature with collaborative activities. Each State TBI program will begin the process at different starting points and each will move through the process at different speeds. While moving through the relationship development process, many will face roadblocks and hurdles of different sorts, including staff turnover and "unfriendly climates." Keeping all of these variables in mind, the enclosed "Tips," "Contacts," and "Tools" were assembled to provide States with the appropriate resources no matter the phase of development.

Prior to reviewing the contents of this tool kit, it is important that you assess where your State TBI program's relationship is with these departments. Read the "Tips" and "Tools" sections knowing where you are today, but thinking about where you would like to be in the future. The kit provides three resource packets to assist in:

  1. creating a foundation;
  2. building statewide capacity; and
  3. providing appropriate supports.

Your current level of collaboration will determine which tool or resource packet is best for you at this time. The following scenarios illustrate how to "mix and match" the sections to best suit your needs.

  • Scenario One: Difficulty Getting Department of Education Representation on the TBI Statewide Advisory Board/Council

Information from each of the three tool kit sections would be ideal to assist your State with obtaining a representative for your board/council. The "Tips" section offers practical suggestions for getting the State TBI program on the department of education's radar. Use the "Contacts" section to identify the best organizational representative to approach with an offer to present the TBI Children and Youth PowerPoint (in the "Creating a Foundation" resource packet) for the individual and/or his or her colleagues. This is an excellent ice breaker and will provide you with an entrée and ultimately a representative to join your advisory board/council.

  • Scenario Two: Department of Education Representative on TBI Statewide Advisory Board/Council, but Relationship is Stagnant

When there is an existing relationship, but it could use a boost, host a viewing of the Building Statewide Capacity to Serve Students with TBI Web cast (in the "Building Statewide Capacity" resource packet) for your education colleague and ask him or her to invite key officials from the department. This will allow you to speak to the importance of providing specialized training for educators in the area of traumatic brain injury. Provide the representative with the supplementary materials to share with others in the department to spread the word.

  • Scenario Three: Department of Education is Onboard to Build the Capacity to Serve Students with Traumatic Brain Injury

This momentum could be your entrée into incorporating traumatic brain injury trainings for teachers and other school personnel in the educational systems. Discuss ways to host and/or disseminate the Behavior Assessment and Problem Solving Using Positive Behavior Supports for Students with Traumatic Brain Injury Web cast (in the "Providing Appropriate Supports" resource packet) to school districts. You might also share the Web cast with school personnel and others included in the "Contacts" section.

Once you have assessed where you are and the appropriate next step, put together a combination of information and resources from this kit that will work for the current situation in your State. As your State TBI program moves through the relationship building process, continue to refer to this tool kit and use the various components accordingly.

Please click here to download complete guide

Posted on BrainLine November 6, 2008.

From the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration, and Maternal and Child Health Bureau.