Program Phases

Program is divided into the following phases:

Intake and assessment

  • Review documentation about student’s brain injury
  • Interview about academic and vocational goals
  • Gather neuropsychological assessment, supplemental testing to identify student’s strengths and weaknesses


  • Validate students’ registration and accommodations with Disability Services (DS)
  • Students form a team with “college coaches”, staff from Disability Services, vocational rehabilitation specialists, family, professors, friends, etc.
  • Students and coaches plan the type and amount of support they will receive in the first year, including courses targeted for specific support
  • Goals are identified and measurements are put into place
  • Plans are adjusted during the semester as needed

Support includes strategies in three domains: SELF-learning, SELF-management and SELF-advocacy. Persistence and resiliency are reinforced. 

  • Intensive support provided in the first academic year, with less support in the second year as needed
  • Students meet on a weekly basis with program coaches
  • Precise strategies are identified in the planning phase, and others evolve as the year gets underway.
    • Problem-based learning for complex academic tasks is emphasized (e.g., writing a research paper)
    • Self-assessment is required as a form of feedback to keep track of what works and what does not
    • Feedback is provided by coaches
    • Students learn to establish deadlines, plan/organize study routines, and modify schedules based on how long study/learning now takes
    • Technology is used to assist in learning, studying, organization, and time management
    • Portfolios of strategies are created with guidance from coaches
    • Grades are tracked by students as they implement strategies
    • Accommodations are reassessed throughout the year
    • Opportunities to meet other students with brain injury are provided
    • Self-advocacy skills are practiced and reinforced

Re-evaluation & Follow-up: At the end of the second semester of participation, the following occur:

  • Testing is repeated with the same interviews and assessments
  • Long term outcomes are reassessed such as grades from before and after participating in the program and decisions about college goals (e.g., take a reduced course load, change majors, etc.)
  • Students hold a team meeting to share progress, current status and plans for the following year
  • In the second year, students are encouraged to contact the coach at least twice per semester (first and second halves, or two semesters) to discuss any challenges or new barriers encountered and identify potential strategies, and to monitor progress
  • Some students need more support and some students may need less support in the second year

Research from the NeuroCognitive Communication Lab (NCCL)

Dr. Mary Kennedy, Ph.D., CCC-SLP
Dr. Mary Kennedy, Ph.D., CCC-SLP runs the NCCL, where her research is focused on understanding and managing the cognitive and language problems of individuals who have sustained a brain injury.