No matter what someone’s age, a brain injury has the capacity to be a lifelong impairment that will change everything about the victim’s future – but this is particularly true for children.
While it was once believed that the “plasticity” of a young brain could allow a child to essentially “shake off” a head injury better than an adult, new research indicates that brain injuries in children are far worse than they are for grownups. Some of the long-term consequences may not even be apparent for years. For example:
Problems with social development
Children who suffer from long-term brain injury symptoms may have decreased motivation, more difficulty regulating their emotions compared to other children their age, problems handling frustration and difficulty both understanding and responding appropriately to social cues. Naturally, this can lead to problems forming stable friendships and difficulty with acceptance by their peers.
Problems with cognitive development
Challenges with memory, comprehension and focus can all affect a child’s ability to learn, and this may be particularly apparent as they move through school and their educational needs become more complex. Children who have suffered brain injuries may need extensive accommodations in school to meet their needs, along with occupational, physical and behavioral therapy to help them cope with the demands on them in that environment.
Problems with physical development
Children with brain injuries may struggle to keep up with other children in gym, sports or other recreational activities. Problems with their balance and coordination, muscle weakness or spasticity, difficulties with spatial awareness and even problems regulating their body temperature can limit what sort of activities a child can even participate in as they grow, whether that’s playing ball, being part of a choir or marching in the school band. Those limitations can also negatively affect both their emotional state and their social development.
If your child has suffered a brain injury, don’t let anybody tell you that you can relax simply because they “seem fine” right now. Many of the challenges they face may not clearly manifest until they’re older. That makes it particularly important to fight for the compensation your child may need as they age.