Brain injuries are the leading cause of disability and death for children and adolescents in the U.S. The two age groups at the greatest risk for brain injuries are children ages 0-4 years old and teens ages 15-19, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). If your child has sustained a traumatic brain injury (TBI), you may be wondering what to expect.
Difficulties of a Childhood Brain Injury
As a parent, you may find that you face significant challenges after your child’s injury, including:
- New challenges and effects of your child’s injury as they grow older.
- Difficulty recognizing cognitive-communicative issues in school, community environments, and at home.
- A lack of recognition and resources to explain the effects of a TBI on communication, cognition, and your child’s lifelong learning and daily activities.
- Challenges to find information on caregiver support and how to help your child through their recovery and development.
Immediate Effects of a Traumatic Brain Injury
Cognitive communication combines your child’s thinking skills with their language skills and is often impaired by a brain injury. While your child’s language skills may remain largely intact, cognitive difficulties can often surface when there is a demand for communication. Attention, memory, organization, problem-solving skills, and self-awareness are needed to communicate effectively, and changes in your child’s ability to effectively communicate may be seen.
These changes are commonly seen in school, when the pressure of time, grades and assignments may uncover your child’s struggles to keep up with school requirements and social interactions. Social interactions may become more difficult for your child, and they may become more isolated from their peers.
Strategic learning may also be affected. This ability is essential for educational and social success, but it may not develop fully in children with a brain injury. Strategic learning refers to the ability to extract important information from a situation while inhibiting the unimportant features of that information. In a school setting, this could look like a student who struggles to identify meaningful information, generalize this information, and store this information for later use. Instead, they may get hung up on unimportant details and struggle to learn new tasks efficiently.
Receptive language skills may also be affected. This can appear as hearing loss, but hearing assessments may not reveal any loss. Delayed auditory processing capabilities may be to blame. Children with auditory processing delays may ask for multiple repetitions, struggle to recognize vocabulary, and have trouble following directions or recalling what was said in a conversation.
The Long-Term Challenges of a Brain Injury
After a TBI, it isn’t uncommon that developmental challenges are overlooked. When changes arise months or years later, the link between the behaviors and the injury may be overlooked, which can impede the process of addressing your child’s needs in an appropriate way.
The developing brain is thought to have an easier time “bouncing back” from an injury, but brain injuries at a young age can mean long-term developmental challenges as your child grows older. The full impact of a brain injury may not be apparent time much later when your child doesn’t meet cognitive developmental milestones as expected.
As a parent, you want to ensure that your child receives the help they need to flourish. It is important to keep a close eye on your child’s development and work with their doctor and education professionals to monitor their academic and social development. If issues arise in the future, you can provide valuable information regarding the injury to help your child get the support they need.
Has Your Child Been Injured? Get Help From Our Ventura Child Injury Lawyers - (805) 434-6393
Brain injuries are considered catastrophic injuries because of the lifelong effects they can have on victims. At the Haffner Law Group, we understand the difficulties your family may be facing, which is why we are committed to providing compassionate, effective legal counsel. If your child was injured due to someone else’s negligence, our experienced Ventura personal injury attorneys can help you pursue compensation for your child’s injuries.