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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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Neuropsychological Assessment and Rehabilitation of BI - Neuropsychological Rehabilitation After TBI

Rehabilitating an infant or child on a neuropsychological level after a traumatic brain injury is an inclusive process, addressing deficits in their cognitive, psychosocial, emotional, and behavioral deficits.

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Recovery can require intensive planning. For an infant with a birth brain injury, rehabilitation can be challenging because all the potential deficits may not be realized for some time. Babies have limited communication, social, and physical abilities to display.

Many of the impairments associated with brain injuries may not be evident at birth, so rehabilitation can focus on early detection of problems as they appear. Clinicians will look for signs of epilepsy, intellectual disabilities, visual or hearing problems, and cerebral palsy. Signs of learning disabilities are checked for as well at different stages of development. The risks of impacts are higher in premature infants, but any baby with a brain injury may have rehabilitation needs beyond the initial damage and treatment protocols.

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Challenges of Rehabilitating a Developing Brain

Checking reflexes, swallowing ability, and pain response aren’t the only assessments that can be done on infants. A newborn’s brain grows rapidly. The areas responsible for executive, somatic, and visuospatial functions develop quickly and in synchronicity. A traumatic injury during the development stages cannot just cause severe impairment at birth, but at various stages of childhood and early adulthood while the brain is still developing.

Addressing rehabilitation and neurodevelopment simultaneously is a challenging role for infants with brain injuries. Sometimes, neuropathways can be reestablished, while another is compromised in the process. It is also important to include the physical, social, emotional, and nutritional factors of neurodevelopment that focus on growth and the environment.

Rehabilitation can focus on an infant’s:

  • Hearing and visual ability: Cochlear implants to stimulate auditory nerves despite damaged cochlear hair cells. Young children with visual problems can be treated with eyeglasses or surgery.
  • Motor skills: Interventions can involve feeding ability, training for sucking and swallowing, and sensory stimulation.
  • Cognitive skills: The interactions with infants, including exercises, exposure to books, and play can improve outcomes later, but parents can take an active role in working with their infants and toddlers.
  • Communication, speech, and language: Training for both parents and children using established principles can improve these skills if developmental/cognitive delays are present. For infants, touch and movement, as well as multisensory interactions, can provide a head start.