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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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Cognitive Symptoms

Cognitive symptoms associated with a brain injury are often not noticeable until after infancy. Early signs, however, may include delays in crawling, holding on to objects, or a baby being able to pull itself up. Some symptoms may be general and point to any number of problems; others may indicate specific disorders, such as:

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  • Cerebral palsy: One doesn’t have to wait to notice learning disabilities to suspect cerebral palsy. An infant with the condition may appear to have balance problems or poor coordination and reflexes. The condition is also associated with poor muscle control, trouble eating, sensory impairment, and seizures.
  • Hypoxia/Anoxia: Coordination problems and limb weakness are symptomatic, so an infant may not move or respond as would normally be expected. As the child develops, they may exhibit poor judgment, short-term memory loss, confusion, impulsiveness, and difficulty processing verbal or visual information.

Developmental Delays Reveal Cognitive Issues Over Time

Elk & Elk

Many cognitive symptoms of a brain injury appear as a child is expected to reach developmental milestones. They may have trouble concentrating or processing information. Also, they may seem slow to think through problems, and their attention span may be limited. Trouble with reading and writing are cognitive signs to look out for. The inability to comprehend basic planning is as well.

Since many of these involve higher-order functions, they may not manifest until the child is in school. Many times, problems such as attention-deficit disorder are diagnosed before anyone suspects a brain injury. Developmental delays are often heartbreaking for families, but can potentially be mitigated with early detection of brain injuries. Unfortunately, this is a challenge for babies under two years old.

The Pediatric Emergency Care Network has created an algorithm to measure the level of a person’s consciousness. It takes observations of symptoms into consideration, progression, and the Glasgow Coma Scale into account. If an infant or child scores less than a 15 on the scale, a CT scan will be recommended. One may be ordered, however, if symptoms are present, even if the score is higher. Although cognitive impairment is often for life, acute treatment including surgery, medication, cognitive/emotional therapy, and physical rehabilitation can improve a child’s functional abilities as they get older.