In years gone by, the wisdom even among medical professionals was that children recover well from brain injuries. That was disproven long ago, but still seems to lurk in some corners. Some children may recover well, but many seem to bounce back quickly, and then as time goes on, they may not meet milestones as they should. Behaviours or other problems that are related to the earlier injury may show up. This is particularly true for children that are injured at an early age. The article, Monitoring Recovery of Pediatric Traumatic Brain Injury Across Developmental Stages and Settings in Brain Injury Professional, provides a good discussion of these points. It also has a brief questionnaire that is being developed for use by families, educators and professionals to help monitor a child’s development after a brain injury. The questionnaire looks at a number of areas:
- Physical issues
- Learning issues
- Emotional development
- Attention and behavioral issues
- Social development
The questionnaire clearly is not intended to be a replacement for a professional assessment, but rather a quick tool that parents can use to consider whether a reassessment by a professional is needed.
If your child suffered a concussion or other brain injury, you should have a look at this article, and think about going through this short questionnaire once a year or so. All children face challenges as they grow and mature, and this tool may help you decide if your child is just dealing with the regular issues that children face, or if he or she should be assessed or reassessed by a professional.
If you think that a professional assessment might be appropriate, there are a number of professions to turn to for help. Family doctors can be good starting point. The latest literature in the field of paediatric concussion and brain injury is continually in a state of growth and change, making it very challenging for a general practitioner to stay abreast of it all. Occupational therapists, physiotherapists, speech language pathologists, psychologists, and social workers who specialize in concussion and brain injury are focused on the area and therefore able to keep up to date with the latest research. They are generally readily accessible and work with Pediatric Consultants as needed.
If in doubt, it is always best to ask for help early, before problems with learning and social development irrevocably impact your child’s life.