Symptoms of Traumatic Brain Injury in Chidren

Brain Injury symptoms can vary depending on the extent and location of the head injury and sometimes based on the age or development of the child. But symptoms involving concentration problems, slower mental processing, inability to focus, memory and language difficulties, vision problems, and changes in social or personal behavior are quite serious. One or more of these symptoms may be temporary or long lasting. Often times the symptoms will appear within days following the trauma, although there is disagreement in the medical community about how long it can take for TBI symptoms to first appear. But again, the TBI symptoms may be masked by other physical injuries and thus appear as though they first appeared long after the trauma.

In my practice I regularly see children in TBI cases who display a complex array of problems following head trauma. These include:

Physical Impairments:
    •    speech
    •    vision
    •    hearing impairments
    •    light sensitivity
    •    headaches
    •    seizures
    •    partial paralysis of one or both sides of the body
    •    balance problems.

Cognitive Impairments:
    •    long and short term memory issues
    •    impaired concentration
    •    mental processing difficulties
    •    language problems.

Psychosocial, Behavioral and Emotional Impairments:
    •    fatigue
    •    emotional outbursts
    •    controlling anger
    •    depression
    •    personality changes
    •    impaired coping skills
    •    the feeling of being overwhelmed in response to normal daily activities.

Any or all of the above symptoms may occur in varying degrees and last for varying time periods. Sometimes one or more of these symptoms can become permanent, and as a result, cause life-changing problems in the child’s life and in the lives of the child’s parents and family members. But the vast majority of children will recover from mild TBI symptoms within 1 to 12 months according to various studies. Nonetheless, improvement and reduction of symptoms following TBI may take as long as two years. Parents should watch their children closely over the course of several days following a head trauma to determine whether classic TBI symptoms exist and if so, to what degree. A prompt consultation with a medical doctor is necessary if your child demonstrates extreme fatigue, ongoing headaches, disorientation, behavioral or emotional problems, and other significant symptoms that may interfere with daily activities.