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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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What are the signs and symptoms of BI

Pediatric brain injury can result from either blunt force trauma or medical conditions which can seriously affect a child’s functional ability as well as their psychosocial interactions.

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Injury from medical causes can be ascribed to infectious disease, anoxia, stroke, aneurysm or brain tumors. The loss of both physical and mental faculties can also be induced by medical remedies and surgical procedures.

The signs and symptoms of BI in children and prognosis for recovery are complicated by the fact that the brain is still under development. The growth of the brain is incremental by nature and certain parts of it, like frontal lobes and sensory features, still, develop after adolescence. In addition, each case is unique, and no two children will exhibit the same manifestations of BI.

Common Symptoms of Infant Brain Damage

Symptoms of BI in babies may be apparent in the first months after birth. These can include:

Elk & Elk
  • Obvious physical signs, like an unusually sized head or forehead
  • Problems with eye movement and focusing
  • The onset of seizures
  • Crooked facial features

Infants may also show signs of brain injury in their temperament. They may cry excessively for no apparent reason, encounter trouble with feeding or experience problems with sleeping.

Symptoms in Later Stages of Development

In the absence of glaring physical signs, the diagnosis of BI in infants and small children is made more difficult by the fact that they usually can’t articulate their feelings or distress very well. However, parents can pick up signs of change in their eating habits, sleep patterns, inability to pay attention, lack of interest or obvious distress.

Older children and teenagers can provide more input and describe their symptoms in greater detail. The Mayo Clinic writes that symptoms of brain injury can be broken down into three main categories:

  • Physical impairment. Symptoms can include changes to any of the senses, most notably vision, hearing or speech. Apart from signs of paralysis, children may exhibit problems with balance and motor coordination. Headaches and the sudden onset of seizures would be a more obvious cause for concern.
  • Cognitive deterioration. Changes in cognitive ability can be a sign of pediatric brain damage. Children may show deterioration in prior skills like communication, reading or writing. They may have trouble concentrating, show poor judgment or exhibit a shortened attention span.
  • Emotional symptoms. These signs are normally the most difficult to detect. They could include mood swings, depression or anxiety. Children can also appear to be listless or have trouble in controlling their emotions. They may show shifts in self-worth by becoming more self-centered or have reduced self-esteem. Post adolescence, they may exhibit signs of sexual dysfunction.

The level of severity of these symptoms can vary greatly. Parents are best placed to discover signs of possible BI and make the necessary arrangements for professional diagnosis and treatment.

With a wide range of possible causes, brain injury can occur at any stage of a child’s development. The Brain Injury Association of America reports that brain injury is the leading cause of death and disability for children of all ages. However, the age groups at greatest risk are those aged 0 to 4 and late adolescents aged 15 to 19.