TBI -Traumatic Brain Injury…and you?

April 26, 2013By: Tom Kloiber

Traumatic brain injury has been in the news quite a lot lately, and the effects of concussion are becoming a frequent topic on sports shows, especially regarding NFL players and military veterans.  But a new study published in the online journal Radiology concludes that even a single blow to the head can cause lasting structural brain damage.

Brain injury reduces brain volume and can last for months, for years, or for a lifetime, depending on the severity of the damage. The effect on behavior can be profound.

Admittedly wild speculation

The interesting thing about this conclusion is that it has the potential to change what we know about childhood behavioral problems and our approach to dealing with them. How many developmental and behavioral problems could be caused by undiagnosed brain injury?

Check out this list of symptoms* from maketheconnection.com:

Physical effects may include:

  • Headaches
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Blurry eyesight
  • Trouble hearing
  • Loss of energy
  • Change in sense of taste or smell
  • Dizziness or trouble with balance

Cognitive effects may include:

  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Trouble with attention
  • Forgetfulness
  • Difficulty making decisions
  • Repeating things

Behavioral effects may include:

  • Becoming angry easily
  • Getting frustrated easily
  • Acting without thinking

*If any of these symptoms seem familiar, you might be an SLP.

What now?

A little knowledge can be a dangerous thing. These symptoms fit a number of conditions, so it’s unwise to jump to conclusions. But behavioral issues may be easier to deal with once the general public understands that many bratty kids aren’t “spoiled” and that bad or even criminal behavior is often a symptom…one some children cannot control or overcome. Perhaps someday better understanding will lead to diagnosis, early intervention, and comprehensive treatment options for kids who might be victims of traumatic brain injury. For now, we can ask the right questions when we see the symptoms and hopefully start the wheels in motion for a proper diagnosis and treatment. What will you do with this information?

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