What Parents Should Know About Traumatic Brain Injuries

boy holding his head in his handsTraumatic brain injuries are often scary and stressful events in the lives of the children who experience them. Although a pediatric neurologist may be able to treat your child’s brain injury, as a parent you will need to help your child as they cope with the changes caused by their injury.

Your child’s ability to develop coping strategies depends on many different factors. Factors such as your child’s personality, their mental health, the support available from friends and family and the extent of the injury all play a part in determining their ability to cope with the effects of a brain injury.

What to Expect After a Traumatic Brain Injury

After a child who has experienced a traumatic brain injury returns to consciousness in an unfamiliar hospital room, they are often confused and may be scared. Providing support by talking to them and holding their hand in a supportive way helps to center a child coming out of a coma. Pictures of family and friends, familiar toys or other items from home can all help to reassure a child who has recently regained consciousness.

The stress from a brain injury can continue to affect the child well after it’s healed, particularly if the injury caused an extended loss of consciousness or permanent damage.

What You Can Do to Help

Traumatic brain injuries can sometimes lead to long-lasting or even permanent conditions. It’s important to talk with your child’s pediatric neurologist to understand what challenges your child can expect from their injury. It’s also important for you to be able to communicate any special needs that arise to your child’s school and other caregivers.

Children and teens who experience lasting changes from their injury often have feelings of grief, anger or depression that arise from the new challenges they face. Make sure your child receives positive support from you and your family along with regular therapy.