What Can Students with TBI Do If They Flunk Out?

Dr. Juliet Haarbauer-Krupa outlines several strategies to help high school and college students if they flunk out, including talking to peers who have had a similar experience, reevaluated their situation, then made changes to succeed.

See more video clips with Dr. Haarbauer-Krupa.

[Dr. Juliet Haarbauer-Krupa] I think when you've had a failure experience, first of all you have to pull yourself back up by your bootstraps and start over. One of the things we do in our program is provide support on strengths—"Okay, so this happened to you. Someone else who is another college student had the same thing happen. They failed, and they dropped out a year and worked. And then they learned that they really wanted to get some education because the job they were working would not allow them to live outside their parents' home." So we use personal examples. But then, we also do a vocational interest inventory—many teens don't have that. And I think we tend to gravitate towards something we're interested in for a career. Sometimes our teens have missed it because they were absent when it was given at school. It's not necessarily thought of, even if voc rehab is involved, to do this in teenage years as they're transitioning. So we do that and ask them, "What are you interested in? What do you think you could do every day? What do you think your strengths are?" And then looking at what happened at college—kind of going through that process. We tend to advise teens to start out at a community college because you get— even if you don't access disability services, there are smaller classes, there is more support, and we tell them that. We helped a young man who was very interested in medical school. He missed an entire second semester of science and could not take the advanced placement courses at school in part because he was still recovering from his brain injury. He was fairly new, and he still wanted to go to medical school. So he went to a community college with voc rehab support. He told voc rehab he didn't think he needed disability services, so the first semester he took a full course load. At midsemester, he got his first Ds and Fs. He had never gotten that in high school. He was very insightful, so he went back— he called us and said, "What should I do?" We had a conference with the voc counselor who said to him, "You have this available and this available. Let's drop a course."—reworked his schedule and then he got on a success track, so by the time he came back to visit us the next summer, he was up to As. But part of that is I think teens need to learn for themselves. We can only tell so many things. I think the learning and then reevaluating what happened and how you can move forward is very important.
Posted on BrainLine July 2, 2013.

Produced by Victoria Tilney McDonough, Justin Rhodes, and Lara Collins, BrainLine.