Watch for emotional and behavioral changes in children after concussion accident
According to a recent report in Medical News Today, up to around 2% of children aged 0 to 5 years experience a concussion accident every year. Our lawyers are frequently called by parents to discuss concussion injury accident to children. The article in Medical News Today discusses a study recently published in the Journal of Neuropsychology, which reveals the adverse effects of mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) on the quality of parent-child relationships. “The young brain is particularly vulnerable to injury because the skull is still thin and malleable. In the months following the injury, one of the first visible signs of social difficulties in young children is a decline in their relationship with their parents,” said a senior author of the study. Knowing that good parent-child relationships are synonymous with better social skills later in life, the researchers stress the importance for parents to monitor behavior changes in their child in the weeks that follow the accident and adjust accordingly during this period.
Given the relatively limited social and cognitive skills of preschoolers, a concussion accident at this age can slow the development of new abilities, for example, certain communication skills. Very little data exists about the first signs of socialization problems in preschoolers after a concussion. Parent-child relationships represent the center of young children’s social environments and are therefore ideal contexts for studying the potential effects of mild TBI on children’s social functioning.
The laboratory in the study recruited a group of 130 children aged between 18 months and 60 months, divided into three accident categories: children with a concussion, children with an orthopedic injury (usually a fracture or sprain of the arm or leg) but no concussion, and a control group of non-injured children. The aim of the study was to assess the quality of parent-child interactions six months post-injury. “We asked parents to fill out a questionnaire so they could evaluate their relationship with their child. At the same time, they participated in a filmed evaluation session in the laboratory in which they and their children took part in typical daily activities – such as free play and snack time – allowing the researchers to measure the quality of their communication, cooperation, and the emotional atmosphere.” “The quality of parent-child interactions following a concussion accident was significantly reduced compared to non-injured children.”
“Given that parent-child interactions are influenced by the emotional and behavioural dispositions of both the parent and the child, more research is required to identify the factors underlying this decline in their relationship. It may be due to specific neurological mechanisms, to changes in parenting, or to stress caused by the injury. Identifying these factors will help develop more targeted interventions to positively influence the quality of life of children and their families.”
The authors of the study advised that if, as parents, you notice the effects of the accident on your own psychological state, or behavioral changes in your child that make them interact differently and that persist more than a few weeks, you should talk to your family doctor or a neuropsychologist.
If your child has suffered a concussion or brain injury as a result of an accident, call us and speak with a lawyer for a free consultation. Our MN lawyers have over 25 years’ experience representing families and their children injured in accidents including car accidents, daycare accidents, school accidents, and more. We will make sure you are properly advised of your rights, and that your child’s interests are protected.