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

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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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Brain Injury News and Research - Caregiving

Babies that experience brain injury (BI) during birth may be in need of specialized caregiving later on in life. The specifics of care will depend entirely on the severity of the damage and the effect it has had on the infant’s self-dependence.

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The Importance of a Supporting Environment

The environment that a child grows in plays a key role in their development and the rule remains valid for kids who have experienced a BI at birth.

According to new research published in Neuropsychology journal in 2017, the family environment can be used as a predictor for the academic success of children who have experienced brain injuries.The study involved 15 children with severe brain damage, 39 with moderate and 70 with an orthopedic injury. The team followed academic performance for an average period of 6.83 years post brain injury to figure out what impact the family environment had on the children.

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Family functioning, psychological distress for the parents and quality of the home environment assessments were also performed.

Researchers found out that a higher quality home environment was a predictor of academic success in the children. The quality of the home environment was a much more powerful indicator of success than the level of parental distress stemming from coping with this injury.

The study shows that while a BI can have a negative impact on a child’s academic performance, the home environment could potentially help children overcome some of the adverse effects.

Primary Caregivers and Distress

The severity of the injury could make it difficult for primary caregivers to cope with the situation. Multiple studies reveal that the psychological status of caregivers could lead to some unhealthy family functioning.

One report on the topic was published in the Brain Injury journal. The study investigated the lives of 62 patients who had sustained a BI and their caregivers. Of all caregivers, about 50 percent reported elevated distress levels.

Feelings of alienation and burden have also been reported by numerous caregivers responsible for people who have experienced this type of injury.

The researchers found out that spouses were more likely to report higher levels of distress than parents. The spouses of people having a child with a BI were also more likely to report greater family function problems.

The Importance of Adequate Social Support

The studies quoted so far suggest two important things – the provision of proper care is of paramount importance for the development of children, and the job of the primary caregiver is not an easy one.

Another study on the topic was presented in the Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation. The study focused on the importance of adequate social support for primary caregivers.

The research focused on 60 people who had sustained a BI and their caregivers. Through a series of experiments, researchers found out that the level of caregiver distress was dependent on the severity of the injury. Social support, however, had a massive positive impact on family functioning and it also reduced the psychological distress of caregivers.

In the absence of adequate support, caregivers can experience a much higher level of distress. The conclusion is that families that have a baby who has sustained such an injury should seek and obtain adequate social support. Not only will such support have a positive impact on the caregiver, but it may also improve the quality of life for a person that has sustained brain injuries.