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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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Behavioral/Emotional Symptoms

The behavioral and emotional impairments associated with a brain injury at birth may not show up until later in childhood. Even when they do, the degree of impairment can vary significantly. The extent of the damage affects the outcome. Another defining factor is the location of the injury and long-term damage.

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Children may experience mood swings, anxiety, depression, or restlessness. They may not be very motivated and have a hard time controlling their emotions. Other symptoms of neurological deficiency include denial, self-centeredness, and a low self-esteem.

Challenges of Diagnostics from a Behavioral/Emotional Perspective

In an infant, expectations aren’t very high in terms of what they’re expected to do. A birth injury to the brain, therefore, may be mild and its effects on how a child will later meet social expectations won’t be known for some time. Contrary to what was believed in the past, brain injuries can be more devastating to developing brains than in adults. On top of that, impairments may not be immediately evident until much later, when there are higher expectations. Delays in symptoms mean potentially effective treatments aren’t administered in time.

Elk & Elk

Children who experience neurological damage at birth may start to exhibit:

  • Impulsive activities
  • Aggression
  • Hyperactivity
  • Depression
  • Withdrawal
  • Mood disorders

In addition, children may show signs of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and have poor conduct in school. It is not uncommon for two or more behavioral issues to emerge at the same time. When a child starts to show such symptoms, and a cause for brain injury is suspected, such as a difficult birth, infection, or trauma, a detailed neurological checkup should be performed.

A child’s social development should be tracked carefully. Neurological impairment can cause children to act socially inappropriate and impulsive. Often controllable with medication and therapy, these range from withdrawal to extreme anger. Communication can be another issue. If the damage is severe enough, the child may not have the ability to speak or read or write or may have some degree of difficulty learning how to do so. The typical behavioral and emotional signs of a brain injury often co-occur with other types of symptoms.

Brain Damage – Behavioral/Emotional Symptoms
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