The effects of acquired brain injury: an introduction
This section talks in more depth about the effects of acquired brain injury on children.
The brain is at the centre of this work, shaping each individual personality as it makes its way through its young life.
Acquired brain injury can affect almost any aspect of the way somebody functions, which is why it is such a complicated condition. And the effect it has on any of these functions can range from small (and hard to spot) to large (and more obvious).3
- A child may not go on to pick up some of the skills they otherwise would have4
- A child may appear to make a good physical recovery, but some of the effects of acquired brain injury might be hard to spot5, 6
- Some of the effects might not come to the surface until later on, when the injured part of the brain starts to be used7, 8
It was really important that we were prepared for the fact he wasn’t going to be quite the same lad he was before. To our friends and relatives, Michael was home from hospital and everything seemed back to normal. But it was tough to see him getting easily frustrated and irritable.11"Parent's experience
All children are unique, and acquired brain injury affects each of them differentlyAs always, we must stress that every child’s experience is different.12, 13 We’ve brought together some of the difficulties associated with acquired brain injury, but this is not to say any one child will experience all of them.
- Watch our video on how children respond differently to their injury from physiotherapist Gemma Kelly.
It’s also important to remember that each difficulty doesn’t exist on its ownThe effects of fatigue (or tiredness), for example, might make a child more irritable in their behaviour. It may also slow down the speed at which they’re able to process information. Not being able to answer a question quickly might lead to frustration on a child’s part, and this in turn might lead to challenging behaviour.14 Another example might be difficulties with memory, which many children with acquired brain injury experience.15 We use our memories a great deal in our everyday lives, from talking to people to learning new information. If a child struggles with their memory, then their ability to keep up in conversations or at school may be affected too.2
Changes in behaviour17 Parents say changes in the way their child behaves can be a source of great anxiety.18, 19 It's for this reason that we have given behaviour its own section.
Reading more about the effects of acquired brain injuryWe've divided the rest of our 'effects' section into two main sections.
- The physical effects of ABI
There is a broad range of physical difficulties associated with ABI, from fatigue and tiredness to difficulties with the senses. We look at these effects in more detail here.
- The cognitive and emotional effects of ABI
Our 'cognitive functions' are things that go in inside our heads, such as our thought processes. This section looks at difficulties with attention and memory, among other things.
It also looks at how children may be affected emotionally by ABI.