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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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Signs of Brain Damage in Toddlers

Babies who suffered a lack of oxygen during birth may have long-term effects that are not immediately known. Those with severe hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) show immediate signs of neurological damage. However, when the infant suffers a mild or moderate lack of oxygen, there could be symptoms that appear later as the child begins to grow and develop.

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As a baby grows into a toddler, there are some signs of brain damage that may become apparent. Toddlers with mild to moderate injury may show symptoms that include a short attention span, poor coordination and lack of judgment among others. Immediate symptoms of brain damage could include lack of breathing, coma and pupils have no response to light.

Parents and doctors should be aware of these signs so that proper treatment and care can be provided. If any areas of concern are noted, the child should be examined, and have testing done to determine the severity of the problem.

Developmental Delays

Elk & Elk

In some cases, the symptoms of impairment may not show up until the child begins to develop and grow. There are a number of developmental milestones in place that help parents and others evaluate a child’s progress. Milestones are provided in various areas of development including social and emotional, language and communication, cognitive and movement and physical development.

  • Social and Emotional Development
  • Toddlers are continually learning new social behaviors. They should show emotional development as they go through their toddler years. They begin to start exploring their world but usually like to stay near their parents. Toddlers can experience some setbacks in development, which is usually normal.

  • Language and Communication
  • As children reach their toddler years they begin to start communicating and talking. They may be able to say a few words and may be able to indicate yes or no when asked a question. They understand what is being said to them.

  • Cognitive
  • The most important area of concern for signs of brain damage may be with a toddler’s cognitive skills. This includes learning, thinking and problem-solving. Toddlers are becoming more aware of the things around them and are able to think or problem solve on their own.

  • Movement / Physical Development
  • Another important area of concern for toddler development is with their physical abilities. They should be walking alone and can eat and drink without help. At this age they start to run and may begin climbing and going up and down stairs.

Parents are often the best judge of a child’s signs or symptoms of developmental delay. If any signs are noted, the child should be evaluated by a medical professional. The sooner interventions are in place to assist a child with disabilities the better. Remember that children grow and develop at different rates, so it is best to consider the developmental milestones rather than comparing your child to others.