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What's the best way to aid a child with a traumatic brain injury?

How do you help a child who has suffered a mild or moderate traumatic brain injury recover? It turns out that having a stable home environment with optimal parenting may be the best treatment available.

A study published by the Association of Academic Psychiatrists tracked injured children for as long as seven years. They found that children with traumatic brain injuries were twice as likely to have developed attention problems as those without a TBI. Those with more severe injuries were five times as likely to develop secondary Attention Deficient Hyperactivity Disorder as those who had never had a TBI.

Studies have also led researchers to some startling innovations in the treatment of children with TBIs—the treatment is unique in that it is focused on the family response to the crisis rather than just the individual child who actually suffered the injury.

There are two innovations in the treatment of childhood TBIs in particular that may help:

1. Online problem-solving treatment programs aimed at families can help reduce both behavior problems and cognitive dysfunction in older children (those ageds 12 to 17 years) and lead to longer-term improvements in everyday functioning.

2. For young children, web-based programs targeting parenting skills have improved parent-child relationships and reduced behavior problems in the children. It has also helped children improve their attention and memory.

These innovations hold a lot of promise for the future. Given that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that almost 250,000 children and teens ages 19 and under needed treatment for sports and recreation-related TBIs in 2009 alone, the scope of the potential crisis is fairly large. Studies from 2001 to 2009 also show that incidents of TBIs in children in that age group have risen 57 percent, indicating that not only are children engaging in riskier behavior or sports but that there's a strong need for innovative treatment.

While the long-term effects of TBI include problems with reasoning, language expression and emotional control, these new studies show that early interventions involving the whole family can make a huge difference toward a positive outcome in the long-run.

Unfortunately, long-term therapy and recovery for any TBI can be costly and difficult. If your child's TBI was the result of someone's negligence, an attorney can provide help and guidance.

Source: Medical News Today, "What are the effects of traumatic brain injury in children?," Ana Sandoiu, Feb. 11, 2017

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