So many events can compromise the health and well-being of our children. One such event is when a child sustains a traumatic brain injury as the result of birth trauma or post-natal trauma including playground accidents, car, and truck accidents, sports injuries, or other trauma. If your child has suffered a serious head injury in Connecticut, contact the law offices of Casper and de Toledo to schedule a consultation.
Brain injury in very young children can present very difficult hurdles in performing development assessment. The brain develops in five stages, with the largest percentage of development occurring in the early years (ages 1-2). If the brain is injured during peak development, the consequences of the brain injury may not be truly reflected until ages 11-13, when the frontal lobes are growing and developing rapidly. That is the best time to measure damage effectively by comparing the injured child from a developmental standpoint to his or her chronological peers.
Pre-natal or birth injury usually results in the child receiving prompt health care intervention and the family can and should be prepared for a lifetime of special needs of the child and the family.
On the other hand, post-birth brain trauma often leaves the patient and family reeling with uncertainty; these families need proper guidance for the unique challenges that must be confronted. Aside from the most important priority of obtaining the best health care for the injured child, there are a host of other considerations.
There are the challenges that confront the family unit not only with regard to care for the child but also as the liaison between caregivers and teachers, as family members are relied upon to communicate issues and problems. The family often also comes under incredible stress that should be addressed, often with professional assistance.
Another challenge to dealing with the aftermath of a pediatric traumatic brain injury is in the educational arena. Some children with brain injuries require residential treatment, but the vast majority of children with traumatic brain injury return to the community and their previous educational environment. However, such a transition may not be smooth, depending upon the nature and severity of the traumatic brain injury. Even a brain injury categorized as a mild traumatic brain injury can have devastating consequences to a child’s school performance, as various cognitive functions may be impaired. These include but are not limited to memory, concentration, and processing, and behavioral skills.
It is imperative that there be adequate communication among health care providers, parents, and school officials to identify, treat, and cope with such problems. Special academic programs may be required, and the child may be entitled to an Individual Education Plan (“IE”) as a matter of federal law (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, also known as the “IDEA”.) The injured child may require special programs and services such as physical therapy, speech therapy, and occupational therapy; he or she may also need individualized classroom attention including an aide; teaching practices may need to be adapted; curriculum may need to be altered, and the child may be entitled to extra time to accomplish assignments and tests including standardized tests such as the SATs.
A family in need can turn to many resources. A natural beginning point is the child’s health care provider. However, please bear in mind that not all pediatricians are well versed in the area of concussion and brain injury. This was confirmed in a journal article published in December 2012 in the journal Pediatrics. (“Pediatric providers’ self-reported knowledge, practices, and attitudes about concussion”.) Also, there are state and national brain injury associations, academic advisors, lawyers who specialize in special education needs (not necessarily the same as lawyers who might handle an accident claim.) For a more expansive discussion of the subject, we recommend for your reading a very informative article entitled “Pediatric traumatic brain injury: a review of pertinent issues” written by Ronald C. Savage et al and published in the journal Pediatric Rehabilitation, April 2005: 8(2): 92-103. This article may be available through the medical library of your local hospital or medical school. You can also find it online, by contacting a lawyer who handles traumatic brain injury or contacting the publisher.
Here at Casper & de Toledo, our trial attorneys are experienced in handling the delicate problems confronted by patients of all ages who have suffered brain injuries. We can assist you during your period of need, and guide you to the proper health care, community, and educational resources.
To schedule a consultation on the legal aspects of your child’s brain injury, contact us.