Close to 500,000 children a year are treated for traumatic brain injuries (TBI’s) throughout the country. This means that children make up the 35% of the total number of TBI’s treated each year. This startling figure does not even include the number of children who have been killed as a result of a TBI.
A traumatic brain injury (TBI) is an injury to the brain that is caused by a bump, blow, jolt, or penetrating impact to the head that interrupts normal brain functions. This interruption can lead to periods of unconsciousness, dizziness, vomiting, mental disabilities, physical disabilities, or even death. TBIs range in severity from “mild”, for example a concussion, to “severe.” A TBI is not something that occurs during birth or is experienced before the child is born. TBIs can be caused by falls, car accidents, or assaults.
An injury to the brain causes the brain to function in a different manner, which could cause the child’s personality to change. Many children will change the way they act, move and think, which will, more often than not, affect how the children perform in school. TBI can cause significant changes in a child’s thinking and reasoning, understanding of words, memory, attentiveness, problem solving, physical activities, seeing, and hearing.
Many students who have suffered a TBI are thought to have and treated as if they have a learning disability, emotional disturbance, or mental retardation. In the end, children with Traumatic Brain Injuries may not be educated in the way that they need. Children who suffer a TBI may not seem any different from children born with a mental disability, but their understanding of their problem is very different. Many children can often remember how they were before the injury and may have emotional problems adjusting to their new disability. Parents, friends, and teachers also have trouble adjusting to a child’s disability. Parents should consider seeking counseling or some type of therapy in order to learn how to deal with the changes that their child is experiencing.
It is recommended that parents should find out what special education programs different schools have to offer so that the child can move more smoothly back into public life. And always remember, symptoms of TBIs’ are not always static. Throughout a child’s life, their mental, physical, and emotional disabilities may worsen or improve. Parents should always be ready for any change that may come along the way. It is incredibly important to stay informed about TBI’s because the more you know about TBI’s, the more you will be able to understand and help your child.