New Study Addresses Long-Term Effects of Head Trauma in Children

Children Who Sustain Traumatic Brain Injuries May be More Likely to Develop Secondary Problems, Says Research Study 

If your child sustains a traumatic brain injury (TBI), will it have long-term effects on your child’s health and well-being? According to a recent article in Science Daily, a study conducted by researchers at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center assessed the effects of head trauma on kids an average of seven years following the date of the injury. What did the researchers determine? Children who sustain TBIs are more likely than others to develop attention difficulties. However, with that said- the family environment in which children with TBIs heal can also impact the likelihood of a child’s development of attention problems.

Specific findings included the following:

  • Impact of parenting and the child’s home environment is substantial, given that “children with severe TBI in optimal environments may show few effects of their injuries”;
  • Earlier family responses help to ensure better long-term outcomes for children with TBIs;
  • Long-term effects of TBIs are most evident in “certain skills that can affect social functioning, such as speed of information processing, inhibition, and reasoning”; and

In addition to the recent study, researchers at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center are also working on studies that can help predict the recovery of a child after sustaining a traumatic brain injury by assessing both genetic and environmental factors. As such, researchers are looking at environmental issues, such as “family functioning, parenting practices, home environment….” At the same time, they expect that genetics may also play an important role in brain injury recovery, and they are looking at “salivary DNA samples from more than 330 children” in an “Approaches and Decisions in Pediatric TBI Trial.”

Learning More About Helping Children Cope with Brain Injuries at Home 

The key to the above study suggests thus far that the child’s environment plays a particularly important role in recovery.

What steps can parents take to help their children heal and to readjust in the aftermath of a traumatic brain injury? A set of guidelines from recommends that parents and other members of the household consider the following:

  • Encourage and praise your child’s progress;
  • Get your child’s peers, school, and community involved in the rehabilitative process;
  • Encouraging your child to continue to have relationships with friends;
  • Provide support based on what your child needs;
  • Serve as a role model for your child’s social behavior;
  • Explore the possibility of family counseling;
  • Help your child understand his or her injury and the ways it can affect cognitive and social behaviors;
  • Instill confidence in your child through his or her previous interests and skills in ways that are available to him or her after sustaining the head trauma;
  • Create a “memory book” that helps to reinforce your child’s daily progress; and
  • Provide your child with a predictable lifestyle and routine.

If your child recently sustained a brain injury as a result of someone else’s negligence, contact a brain injury attorney to determine if he or she is entitled to financial compensation.

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