Consequences of Brain Injury

Often, the first and most obvious change is loss of consciousness or coma. As your child becomes more alert, you will see many more changes. Some will be temporary. Others will last longer.

Changes that parents usually find most disturbing are differences in a child's memory, thinking, emotions, and behavior. These can make your child seem like a "stranger” or "not himself." Even your child's personality may seem different. These changes often are most dramatic as your child becomes more alert and "comes out" of the coma. This is a time when your child's thoughts, emotions and behavior may change many times during the day. Although your child may seem unpredictable to you at this stage, this is a "normal" stage of coma recovery.

Use this list as a starting point to talk with your child's doctors, nurses, and therapists. Only they can advise you on your child's progress. The number of possible changes shows how complex the brain is. Remember, every child and every brain injury is different.

Thinking

Speech and language

Behavior

Suggestions

  1. Ask staff how you can help lessen your child's confusion.
  2. Ask for advice on how to communicate with your child.
  3. Identify if there are sounds, activities, or topics that upset or anger your child.
  4. Ask staff how to calm your child when she becomes upset.
  5. Know how to comfort your child and share this information with others.

He seemed like a different person and that scared me. I kept thinking, "Will he always be like this?" But every day was different. I didn't know what to expect next. That gave me hope but it also made everything so uncertain.

There also may be physical consequences, such as weakness or difficulty moving. This may be more noticeable on one side of the body. There may also be changes in your child's ability to speak, hear, or see clearly. Breathing may be affected and require the help of special equipment.

Medical changes or complications

Physical changes

Comfort Your Child

Touching or stroking your child can be very comforting to your child. Familiar items from home can comfort and reassure. Nurses can help you decide what is best at this stage in your child's care. You might consider bringing items such as: