We all have a part to play in supporting individuals who have sustained a concussion.

After sustaining a concussion, individuals may experience physical, cognitive, social, and emotional impacts that may take weeks or months to resolve. A gradual return to activity looks different for everyone.


An accommodation is a change or alteration to the regular way a student is expected to learn, complete assignments, or participate in the classroom.

  • Goal: Inclusion and full participation at school
  • Results in equal opportunity to attain the same level of performance
  • Student treated with dignity and respect
  • Ongoing process

There are 3 main types of accommodations: environmental, instructional, and assessment.

Environmental Accommodations

  • Provide an alternate workspace with less noise & distractions (e.g., library)
  • Offer preferential seating to minimize distractions (e.g., front of class, near teacher)
  • Allow nutrition breaks
  • Reduce audio/visual stimuli (e.g., move student away from windows, dim lights, reduce background noise)
  • Allow the student to wear aides to reduce light & noise (e.g., headphones, sunglasses, hat)
  • Provide extra time for transition between classes
  • Excuse the student from assemblies
  • Allow the student to rest in a quiet room
  • Provide a visual summary of the daily schedule

Instructional Accommodations

  • Provide extra assignment time
  • Provide an outline or study guide
  • Provide alternatives for screen-based instructions
  • Chunk & breakdown tasks so they are smaller & manageable
  • Provide breaks when moving from task to task
  • Provide short & concise written instructions
  • Have the student write down instructions or repeat instructions in their own words
  • Use colour coding/highlighting to emphasize key pieces of information
  • Monitor participation in group work
  • Provide print-outs instead of note-taking

Assessment Accommodations

  • Provide an agenda/planner to help with organization
  • Encourage the student to use to-do lists & checklists
  • Have the student record daily homework assignments
  • Limit the amount of homework
  • Help the student to prioritize tasks
  • Extend deadlines for assignments
  • Stop testing or evaluating the student until appropriate
  • Provide extra time & breaks for assessments
  • Offer an alternative workspace for test-taking
  • Allow the student to use fact sheets on tests
  • Adjust the test design (e.g., T/F, multiple choice, matching)
  • Allow oral exams (in place of essays or long answers)
  • Weight the assessments differently


Solution-Focused Language

Another way to help students affected by concussion is by using solution-focused language.

Ask questions about what the student wants rather than what they don’t want

  • “What are your best hopes for your return-to-school?”
  • “What would make today a manageable day?”

Ask questions about what has worked for the student in the past

  • “Think back to a recent time when things felt a bit more manageable. What were you or others doing that helped make it manageable?”
  • “You had a good day yesterday. What did you or others do to make it a good day?”

Use powerful compliments that amplify the student’s strengths, resources, and ideas

  • “I am so impressed at how hard you have been trying. It tells me you are mature and take your education ‘seriously’.”
  • “Wow, it sounds like your brother is a really important support person for you…”
  • “That was a great idea you had about sitting up front in math class.”

Ask questions that pull out details of how students and others have helped

  • “How did you do that?”
  • “What did your mom do that was helpful?”

Ask questions that highlight how the student is coping, despite their difficulties

  • “Considering what you’re dealing with, what keeps you strong?”
  • “How have you been managing?”


Source: School First, Holland Bloorview Rehabilitation Hospital


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