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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 - Speech

Brain injuries can leave patients with long-term cognitive problems. A communication deficit is just one of many of the complications that may occur after sustaining a severe injury.

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Communication problems include a wide variety of difficulties with both written and spoken words, understanding language and with reading and spelling. Conversation could be hard for someone who suffered a brain injury. There are several types of difficulties that could occur including:

  • Aphasia Difficulty properly creating language or in understanding others.
  • Dysarthria – Weak muscles cause difficulty forming words resulting in slurred speech.
  • Apraxia – Inability to properly program facial muscles to form words properly.
Elk & Elk

Speech is a complex function that involves producing sounds and coordinating them with the mouth to create words. The part of the brain that is responsible for speech is known as Broca’s area. If this location has been damaged through a birth injury, the infant may have delayed speech or other language deficits.

Speech Delay

Infants who suffered a birth injury could have cognitive, physical and emotional developmental delays. Since an infant is unable to communicate, these problems are generally not known until the child begins to speak. The child’s first three years are the most important in the development of speech and language skills. Children develop these skills through a natural progression. Infants first learn the basic sounds of language as they listen to others.

Specific language impairment (SLI) is a disorder in which the child is delayed in mastering language skills. These children may show signs of late development and miss some of the most important developmental milestones. Kids who are diagnosed with SLI may not talk until they are three or four years of age.

Research into Speech Development

Research is being done in the areas of speech and hearing impairment. The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorder (NIDCD) is involved in a variety of studies to learn more about language disorders and how to better treat them. Research is essential in finding out more about how the brain makes changes to counteract deficiencies. The studies can be helpful in finding better ways to teach language skills to children with delays.

Developmental milestones are used as a guideline for parents and doctors as a way to gauge the language development of a child. Parents of children who experienced a brain injury at birth should pay particular attention to these milestones. The sooner a developmental deficiency is noticed, the sooner a plan can be put into place to assist the child.

The presence of lesions or other damage to the parts of the brain that control speech could be the source of developmental delays or other language-related problems in children. Diagnostic testing such as MRIs and CT scans can be done to locate damaged areas of the brain. Then an assessment can be done to determine a treatment plan that is individualized to the patient. The sooner these tests are completed the sooner treatment and therapy can begin. The type of treatment that may be effective depends greatly on the location and severity of an injury.