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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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What Brain Injury Survivors Want You to Know

The physical, behavioral, and mental effects of a brain injury (BI) may not all be evident in an infant with a birth injury, but survivors have explained many common phenomena.

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If a baby or child seems fatigued, it can be due to their injuries. The presence of fatigue can make it hard to think, as processing and organizing information is more of a challenge in the first place. Physical stamina varies as well and can vary from day to day.

Other Claims of Brain Injury Survivors

Several aspects of how survivors act are often misunderstood. These may include:

Elk & Elk
  • Avoiding social situations to cope with the overload due to crowds and loud noises, because it can be hard for the brain to filter out information.
  • Showing a lack of interest when multiple conversations are ongoing, as putting all the information together can feel like an overload.
  • Ending a discussion to take a break and process information; a lot of thinking can be exhausting for someone who is recovering from a BI.
  • Behaving oddly if in pain, frustrated, or overtired; excess noise can create confusion that manifests in strange behaviors as well.

Another thing BI survivors may stress is patience. They often avoid rushing and multitasking because they are impossible or are inhibiting. Therefore, many survivors learn to work at their own pace. If one’s language skills are affected, they often say they need time to find words and keep track of their thoughts. Providing a person with that time affords the opportunity to rebuild language skills.

Survivors have also said it takes more time to respond. Therefore, open-ended questions can present a challenge, but yes or no questions make it easier to generate a thought. It also helps to explain things slowly, or in different words, if the conversation isn’t immediately understood.

Interacting with a Brain Injury Patient

Memory is often a problem for those with a BI, even for things they care about. Survivors also say others look upon them as rigid, but doing things the same way every time helps to retrain the brain; it is part of the rehabilitation process. They also take the time to process information. It might look like they’re stuck, but allowing them the time, serving as a coach, or asking to help might facilitate the process.

Sometimes, repetitive actions make it seem like the person has obsessive compulsive disorder. Rather, it can be hard for the brain to register actions, and repetition can be an exercise to improve memory or mean the person is tired. People can also blame an individual for insensitivity, but there can be various reasons for emotional deficits. They can be directly due to the injury, or the person might be focusing their efforts on other activities, which require more effort than they used to.

The stories of BI survivors can help understand what a developing child may be going through. Even for someone who sustained a brain injury at birth, the mental and cognitive challenges, among many other deficits, can be frustrating. Knowing more about their situation can help realize why they respond or act in certain ways.