Traumatic brain injury (TBI) can have long-term effects in the lives of children. These effects can impact a child’s life in many different ways—from physical disorders to memory and intellectual problems. Some researchers from Australia conducted a thorough study on the subject and presented their findings stating that traumatic brain injuries can have many residual effects in children. There are many causes of these injuries, such as bouncy houses, sports, slips, falls, abuse and more.

Usually, the changes are permanent and unhealthy for the long-term outcome of the child. These effects are almost always long-lasting and, even with proper medical care, they need to be treated for a long period of time for a child to fully recover. Let’s see how the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act defines traumatic brain injuries.

What's a Traumatic Brain Injury?

Any brain injuries that a child incurred during birth will not be considered as traumatic brain injuries. In a similar fashion, degenerative brain injuries are not classified as traumatic brain injuries. For a brain injury to be called TBI, it must be caused by an external force. The effects of the external force have to result in the impairment of psychosocial aspects of the child or their functional disability. In either case, the disability can be partial or full.

TBIs can be both open-head and closed-head, and the effects of these injuries can be life-changing for the child. A child with traumatic brain injury can have their psychosocial behavior, information processing and speech affected. In addition to these effects, the child can also experience difficulties and disabilities in thinking, memorizing things, concentrating on things, solving problems, cognition, sane reasoning, judgment and much more. In short, the TBI will have a direct effect on the education of the child and how they perform basic tasks in their life. Maintaining a normal social life would also become a challenge for the child.

What Experts Say about Traumatic Brain Injury in Children

How seriously a child is affected by a traumatic brain injury depends on the severity of the injury as well as its location on the head. When TBI affects the physical functions of a child, it can make the child lose the normal strength of their senses such as tasting, hearing, smelling, seeing and even speaking. The damage can be partial where the senses are only affected partially, but it can be permanent and full in nature—making a child lose their sight, speech or hearing power completely. There are also some serious effects of TBI on memory and the intellectual ability of the child.

A child with traumatic brain injury and the presence of its residual effects might not be able to focus and concentrate on things properly. They might immediately lose track of what they were doing due to short-term memory loss. Long-term memory loss is also a possibility. Mood swings are also among the common symptoms, where a child will suddenly shift from a happy mood to a very angry one. Depression and anxiety are other big impacts of a brain injury.

Experts are of the opinion that it is in the best interests of the child and parents that they seek medical help after a brain injury event has taken place. Vicki Anderson is a researcher of child ailments (such as autism, ADHD and others), as well as the top author of a study being conducted on children. She says that a child could recover from a traumatic brain injury normally and naturally, but their recovery has always been observed and tested to be slower than those of the children who are sent into rehabilitation. In fact, children who take up rehab continue to recover for many years.

Mandeep Tamber works at the University School of Medicine and Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh as an assistant professor in the Department of Pediatric Neurosurgery. He has directly advised parents of children who might have residual effects of traumatic brain injuries in them, and said that such parents should seek medical help and rehabilitation for their children as soon as possible so that their children can be in a position to face their problems and find ways to live a normal life with the after-effects of TBIs.

Real Examples of Real Children

There are already thousands and thousands of children around the world who are currently living with the challenges of TBI effects. One such child is seven-year-old Susan. While riding her bicycle, she had an accident with a car, resulting in head injuries and a broken arm. Susan did not show any signs that would concern the parents about traumatic brain injury, but her normal behavior was only a mask hiding the real ongoing condition inside her brain. She is now having trouble with reading simple texts. She would forget things very quickly, and things that are easy and simple for other children are difficult for her (she would take a long time to perform those tasks).

Sam is another child, only 13 years of age, who hit his head on the hard road when he lost control of his motocross bike. This accident sent Sam into rehabilitation for two years. Even though Sam had joined school three months after the accident, the effects of his injuries remained with him. He has trouble with his memory and can forget things very quickly. However, two years of rehabilitation have really proved to be effective in his life and he has recovered a great deal from the prominent effects of the accident.

What Parents Need to Know

You might not be able to see the signs of traumatic brain injury and its residual effects yourself. Even a simple sport like soccer and low-head impacts are enough to cause brain trauma to our little ones. In fact, lately there has been a stunning increase in closed-head injuries to kids who play sports. It is then highly recommended that you get your child tested. The good thing here is that the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) gives relief to the parents by providing a free evaluation of children who have signs of any type of disabilities.

After the evaluation, it is determined whether or not it is okay to let children continue with normal education or opt for special education and an institution for special children. IDEA further provides services that can be acquired by parents to help their children. When it comes to infants and toddlers, IDEA has a program that would cure the child through intervention when they are below the age of three. If the child with the disability is in school or preschool, the law allows many other services in addition to special education for the child.

It is in the hands of the parents and teachers to bring the child back to normal life. An Individualized Education Program (IEP) should be planned soundly and implemented by teachers and parents to make sure that the child is receiving education according to their abilities. The program should be flexible to allow any changes that might be required in future as the child progresses and their needs are discovered.

The Help of an Attorney

While going through this process and emotional distress, you could completely forget about legal action. If your child’s life has been changed because of an accident, you need to take immediate actions to bring the offender to justice. Do this by getting in touch with a lawyer that deals with personal injury cases.

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