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Did Your Newborn Suffer Cerebral
Palsy or Another Brain Injury Before
or During Labor and Delivery?

Learn More

Our Birth Brain Injury Resource Guide

the guide

Get a FREE guide of resources available throughout Ohio to children and families of children who were born with brain injuries.

Our guide can help you build a foundation of knowledge and tools that will help you help your child
now and in the future.

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Balancing Recovery and Compensation

The effect that a brain injury has on infants and children depends on their age, severity of injury and how active they were before the event. It can affect every aspect of their lives and may require extensive adjustments and ongoing therapy to recover.

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The primary goal or any recovery program is to maximize the degree to which the baby can function independently. It has as much to do with recovering an infant’s physical abilities as it has with restoring cognitive prowess and social interaction skills.

Care must be taken to maintain a child’s interest and positive state of mind during recovery. Many children will feel pressure to recover their ability to interact, run and play like they used to. Failure to make progress towards these goals can quickly lead to depression and withdrawal.

Elk & Elk

An article published in the Journal of Pediatric Health Care reports that recovery depends on two processes: restitution and substitution. Therefore, the process must strike a happy medium between restoring these faculties and substituting new abilities. In other words, a balance must be found between recovery and compensation.

Successful Recovery Requires a Team Approach

Children and infants should have a team of medical specialists and professionals to help ensure a successful recovery after brain injury. Apart from a child’s primary care physician, other members of the recovery team can include a:

  • Physical therapist
  • Speech therapist
  • Occupational therapist
  • Physiatrist
  • Psychologist
  • Rehabilitation nurse
  • Social worker
  • Vocational counselor
  • Dietitian

It is critical that newborns and their parents take an active part in the treatment and recovery program. Even the participation of other family members or friends should be encouraged if it has a positive effect on recovery progress.

Early on in recovery, parents must be made to realize the importance of their role so when needed; they can learn to take over from the rest of the team at an appropriate point in the process. Recovery can take many years, and it is critical that parents are equipped with all the skills to provide a nurturing environment that aids that process.

Recovery and Compensation

The Mayo Clinic has published an informative guide to recovery following pediatric brain injury. Depending on the severity of the injury, the early stages of the recovery efforts may focus on stabilizing a child’s physical condition before therapy can begin. After that, the rehabilitation of the patient can commence.

Through all therapy sessions, members of the recovery team should constantly assess the child’s physical, mental and social interaction abilities. With infants and very young children, the recovery process can be complicated by the baby’s inability to communicate effectively.

Medical professionals often have to resort to using their knowledge and experience to restore age appropriate levels of restitution in infants. Recovery assessment will also enable team members to make decisions on the need to introduce compensatory therapy in the recovery process.

Compensation prevents frustration or depression that a child may develop when the recovery process stalls. No two brain injuries are the same, and there are many variables that can have an impact on recovery efforts. Strategies for recovery or compensation that work for one infant may not work for another.

The introduction of compensation strategies works best with the participation of all team members. This process is very much one of trial and error. If one compensation strategy doesn’t work, another must be implemented until the child and the team is satisfied with the outcome.