Traumatic Brain Injury in Childhood

By Taveesha Guyton

When a child is diagnosed with Traumatic Brain Injury, otherwise known as TBI, this diagnosis is devastating to the family, as well as the community in which the child lives. Traumatic Brain Injury leads to death and long-term disability and expands across all social and economic levels. “Traumatic brain injury in childhood is the most prevalent cause of death and long-term disability in children and affects all socioeconomic levels” ( Bond Chapman, 2006). The cost of TBI is expensive to the child, the family as well as to the supports which serve the children.

Traumatic Brain Injury for children can be caused by direct physical blows to the head or indirectly from brain swelling, seizures, or blood in the brain. In babies, the most common cause of brain injury is assault, while in toddlers, it is falls. In older children, the most common causes are bicycle accidents, motor vehicle collisions, and sports; in adolescents, the most common cause is motor vehicle accidents.

How does Traumatic Brain Injury affect the child?

There is a considerable amount of pain and suffering which a child goes through when having TBI.  Traumatic Brain Injury also affects the child’s personality and affects the child’s mood. There are poor social interactions, as well undeveloped peer relations.  Traumatic Brain Injury is also a burden to the parents, as well. In essences, it is the “loss of the child.”  For educators, the challenges of creating learning content for an individual who does not meet traditional learning disability profile and preparing them for possible higher learning if possible.  For society, this may mean marginal employment options and social judgment. TBI affect children differently than adults, primarily is the child is still developing. The brain is still growing, therefore some of the effects of TBI may not show up until adolescence when academic demands increase.

Signs and Symptoms

There are some signs and symptoms related to Traumatic Brain Injury for children include:

Changes in bowels, and bladder functioning, dizziness, increase in headaches, poor balance and coordination, seizures and vomiting. Sensory and perceptual: Difficulty hearing noises, vertigo, hyper-sensitive to sounds, inner ear issues, increased aggression, and depression, just to name a few.

Though there is nnocure for Traumatic Brain Injuries, there is help. If your child has been diagnosed with TBI, developing a plan for the family is crucial to health and safety of the child.

A Family-Centered Approach

It is vital that families are united when it comes to the child and their injury.  It strongly recommended that families:

  • Identify treatment goals and implement techniques and strategies to facilitate gains to everyday life and improved function in the home and community.
  • Exchange information with professionals to learn from one another and make informed decisions that will maximize treatment outcomes.
  • Advocate for their child by providing important information about performance in home and school as the child progresses through transitions.
  • Surround the family with support such as online, local and national groups, and conferences.



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