Child Brain Injury Symptoms
Why Does My Child Do That?

Child brain injury symptoms are both easy to see and hard to see.

You know when something is wrong with your child. But, you also by nature assume the best from your child. If there is a problem, you think that he or she will grow out of it.

You hate to rush to judgment that something might be wrong with your child, but the earlier you identify the problem, the better your child will respond to treatment. Click here for early signs of cerebral palsy.

Our Story

When our son was born, he had a good apgar score. Yes, his eyes diverged a little, but nothing to worry about. Yes, he cried a lot. He really cried a lot. He cried throughout most of the day and night. He hardly slept. He absolutely would not sleep lying down horizontally. He had to be held upright. Either my wife or I held him upright in a recliner to sleep every night. So, not only did he not sleep well, neither did we.

Now we know that these were possible signs of brain damage.

During his first two weeks, he had a very low body temperature: 85 degrees F. We covered him with blankets and heating pads and did everything we could to keep him warm. Eventually his body temperature climbed back up. Although it never really has regulated well.

As we learned, this was another symptom of brain damage.

My wife breast-fed all of our other children. Our son struggled to be able to suck. He finally took some water from a bottle after two days. After two more days, with incredible perseverance, my wife managed to get him to suck. After a two week struggle, he started breast-feeding regularly.

Again, a possible child brain injury symptom.

He didn't gain weight very quickly. He was very small.

Another possible sign of brain damage.

At four months old, his pediatrician became concerned that his head size was too small. He wanted a CAT scan in case there might be a skeletal issue. The CAT scan confirmed our son's massive brain damage.

In hindsight, all of those problems the first few days, weeks, and months were symptoms of his brain injury. Our son was a brain injured child, and we just didn't know it or perhaps didn't want to know.

However, in some ways, it was a blessing not to know. Because we did not assume that our son was brain injured, we saw these brain injury symptoms as just hurdles to overcome with our child. Just as we would with any of our other well children.

If we had known that he was brain injured at birth, most likely he would have ended up staying in the hospital. He would have had a gastric feeding tube (g tube), possibly a tracheotomy, and likely would have been medicated. Instead, he never entered a hospital. We treated him like we would our other kids. And he overcame many of those early difficulties.

Lessons Learned

Each child exhibits brain injury symptoms that correspond to the specific damage done to their brain. A sign of brain damage may be exhibited in different ways with different children, depending on the locality and severity of the brain damage.

A baby might have colic and grow up perfectly healthy. A baby might have trouble breast-feeding and be fine. But, when we look back at all of the difficulties our son had early in life, we can see them all as symptoms of his brain injury. Other cerebral palsy babies will certainly have different symptoms as a result of their specific brain damage.

Each of the following diagnoses exhibits some general symptoms due to the commonality of the damage to the brain in that classification:

Click here for Symptoms of Cerebral Palsy

Bottom Line

Knowing the symptoms of brain injury may help you to better understand your child's behavior, ability, and function.

But, don't be sidetracked by trying to treat their brain injury symptoms. Of course you want to alleviate the symptoms, but to make your child better, you must treat the brain injury itself.

If your child has Cortical Visual Impairment (CVI), you can try to get him or her to see by various visual activities. But the most effective way to cure CVI is to treat the brain. We know, because our son, who was born cortically blind, can now see and read.

So we come back to the same critical questions: What can a parent do? How can you help your child get better?

Treat the brain injury, not the brain injury symptoms.

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