Caring for children with brain injuries
When a child suffers a serious brain injury, life becomes more difficult for the parents and more emotionally fraught.
Siblings can also find it extremely difficult to adjust when a child contracts learning difficulties, disabilities or personality changes.
In spite of this, one important factor will of course always be at the forefront of the family’s minds: the injured child’s wellbeing.
Caring for a child with a brain injury can be a full time job and a diverse, challenging one at that.
Moore Blatch Solicitors have worked on many child brain injury compensation claims and we have provided advice and support to families, in addition to providing them with the professional support structures they need to fulfill their new roles.
Brain injuries are always diverse and unique but brain injuries in children are the most complex because there is no way of knowing how the developing brain will be affected by the injury later in life.
It takes two decades for the human brain to fully form. If a serious injury is sustained in that time there may be no symptoms or immediate effects, since the injured part of the brain is not yet fully used or optimised. Children may not develop skills they otherwise would have done, later in life.. They might also experience more acute difficulties once the relevant part of the brain is used.
Severe brain injuries can leave children unable to walk or talk. They may also find it increasingly difficult to eat or drink. Parents may therefore find themselves in an even more integral role as the care giver. Fortunately, brain injury support workers and full or part time carers can be employed to ease the burden.
There is no cure for a severe brain injury. Brain cells do not regenerate, even in children. It is however possible for the injured brain to adapt and find different solutions to tackling a number of key skills.
This is known as rehabilitation and allows children to regain some of the skills and abilities that they may have lost due to their injury.
Anybody who is responsible for caring for a child with a brain injury will be required to support the rehabilitation process and encourage children to develop these skills. They will work towards a series of assigned goals, which will be introduced by experienced medical professionals. The role of the parent or guardian is simply to ensure that the child stands the best possible chance in their development and enjoys the most normal lifestyle possible in the circumstances.
Here is some advice for parents caring for a child with a brain injury:
Below, we have refined some of the advice that our clients have been given over the years:
Give your child structure – make daily life as normal as possible
A routine will help the child enjoy a daily routine
Also encourage regular rest and relaxation
Be inclusive of the child wherever possible in family activities
Don’t treat the child completely differently than their siblings
Don’t punish the child for accidents or mistakes. Be patient
Explain activities as simply as possible
Avoid agitation or over-stimulation