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Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)


human head with gears in place of the brain

The current eligibility criteria for traumatic brain injury under state law is found at PI 11.36 (9), Wis. Admin. Code. To meet Wisconsin’s eligibility criteria for TBI, the child’s acquired brain injury must not be congenital, degenerative or due to birth trauma and must occur as a result of an external physical force to the brain resulting in total or partial functional disability or psychosocial impairment, or both, that adversely affects a child’s educational performance.

In determining eligibility, the criteria contain two cautionary statements. First, the definition cautions the Individualized Education Program (IEP) team about using the results of standardized and norm-referenced instruments to evaluate and identify a child with TBI. Second, the definition states that alternative means of evaluation must be considered. IEP teams are further reminded that available medical information from a licensed physician must be considered. Prior medical documentation is not required for the IEP team to identify a child as TBI; however, if an IEP team determines that medical information is needed to make the determination of TBI, it must be obtained at no cost to the parent.

If a child meets the eligibility criteria for TBI, the IEP team must also determine whether the student has a need for special education.


If the IEP team decides a child has an impairment (TBI) which adversely affects educational performance and the child needs special education services and related services, the IEP team develops an IEP that is tailor-made to meet the child’s disability related educational needs. A placement is then developed to implement the IEP in the least restrictive environment.

Children with the impairment of TBI frequently present unique challenges to teachers and the support staff responsible for meeting the child’s educational needs. Training opportunities are available within each CESA for staff and parents; contact information for each CESA-based TBI trainer is listed in the resources below.

Concussion Law - Statute 118.293


The law requires all youth athletic organizations to educate coaches, athletes and parents on the risks of concussions and head injuries and prohibits participation in a youth activity until the athlete and parent or guardian has returned a signed agreement sheet indicating they have reviewed the concussion and head injury informational materials. The law requires immediate removal of an individual from a youth athletic activity if symptoms indicate a possible concussion has been sustained. A person who has been removed from a youth athletic activity because of a determined or suspected concussion or head injury, may not participate again until he or she is evaluated by a health care provider and receives written clearance from the health care provider to return to the activity.

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Further Information

TBI Resources

Wisconsin DPI TBI Listserv: If you are interested in subscribing to the DPI TBI listserv, please send an email to with your name, title/role (e.g., teacher, parent, medical provider) and your email address. This listserv provides occasional information about research and resources in the field, as well as updates related to Special Education.