Today’s Tip of the Day deals with what to expect after a child has a brain injury.
While the symptoms of a brain injury in children are similar to those experienced by adults, the functional impact can be very different. Children are not little adults; the brain of a child is still developing. The cognitive impairments of children with brain injury may not be immediately obvious after the injury, but may become apparent as the child gets older.
Brain injury is the leading cause of disability and death in children and adolescents in the U.S. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the two age groups at greatest risk for brain injury are age 0-4 and 15-19.
Symptoms can vary greatly depending on the extent and location of the brain injury. Impairments in one or more areas such as:
–Cognitive functioning including short term memory deficits, impaired concentration, slowness of thinking.
–Physical abilities including speech, vision, hearing and headaches.
–Emotional impairments including, mood swings, denial, anxiety, and depression.
When children with a brain injury return to school, their educational and emotional needs are often very different than before the injury. Their disability has happened suddenly and, in many instances, traumatically. They can often remember how they were before the brain injury, which can bring on many emotional and social changes. The child’s family, friends, and teachers may also recall what the child was like before the injury, and may have trouble adjusting their expectations of the child.
It is important to plan carefully for the child’s return to school. Frequent complaints from students with brain injury include difficulty with memory and comprehension, trouble completing the required amount of work within an allotted time, lack of energy, susceptibility to distraction, and confusion.
Here is a animated video entitled, The Little Bird Who Forgot How To Fly: Caring For A Child With Traumatic Brain Injury
Check out our learning library at www.alaskabraininjury.net for online pamphlets with more tips on this and other issues that affect those with brain injury.