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What happens when children get brain injuries?

Victor Lewin - Saturday, October 03, 2015

Brain injuries can be devastating to all who suffer from them, but the effect of brain injuries on children has a special impact.

The reason for this is that children's brains continue to develop as they grow. At one time, medical experts thought that a child's brain could better absorb a physical injury because kids' brains were considered more "plastic" and easier to recover.

However, continued research on the subject determined that this was not true. The impact of a brain injury on the developing brain of a child is actually more serious than it would be to an adult.

Another problem with brain injuries in children is that immediate cognitive impairment is not always apparent. They may only emerge later as the child begins to display problems associated with cognition and social interactions with others.

Learning may be stunted, leading to a lifetime of being labeled as "slow learners" or other pejorative. The problems they face with their social interactions can present lifelong challenges to act appropriately with others. Their behaviours can ostracize them from their peers and mark them as targets for bullying.

It is common to see deficits in a brain-injured child's ability to process information, use good judgment and display adequate reasoning skills. Because these deficits only emerge years after the original injury took place, it can be easy to overlook the true scope of the traumatic brain injury in the weeks and months following the trauma.

Because of these reasons, parents of children who suffered TBI's in accidents should not be too quick to settle their claims against the at-fault driver's insurance company. A skilled personal injury lawyer can request that future medical expenses be part of any damage award in the event these or similar problems crop up later in life.

Source: Brain Injury Association of America, "Brain Injury in Children," accessed Oct. 02, 2015

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