What is traumatic brain injury?

A violent blow or jolt to the head may cause traumatic brain injury (TBI). Any penetrating injury to the head can be another cause. A blow or jolt can cause primary brain damage (damage at the time of impact) or secondary brain damage, which evolves over time after the injury. A concussion is considered a mild type of traumatic brain injury.

Primary brain damage can include:

  • Skull fracture
  • Bruising of the brain
  • Blood clots
  • Tears in brain tissue
  • Nerve damage within the brain

Secondary brain damage can include:

  • Brain swelling (edema)
  • Increased pressure inside of the skull (intracranial pressure)
  • Epilepsy
  • Intracranial infection
  • Fever
  • Hematoma
  • Low or high blood pressure
  • Low sodium
  • Anemia
  • Too much or too little carbon dioxide
  • Abnormal blood coagulation
  • Cardiac changes
  • Lung changes
  • Nutritional changes

How can I help my child with traumatic brain injury?

Children with brain injuries need a thorough evaluation to determine all the ways the injury has affected them. Brain injuries can cause motor difficulties and/or cognitive (thinking) and communication difficulties that vary depending on how widespread the damage is and the location of the injury.

At CTS, we provide therapy that integrates our modalities to provide rehabilitation in speech and language, modulating behavior, awareness of one’s surroundings, concentration, memory, reasoning, problem solving, and executive functioning (that is, goal setting, planning, initiating, self-awareness, self-monitoring and evaluation).

Our speech-language pathologist (SLP) will work with your child and family and caregivers as part of a team that may also include audiologists, occupational therapists, and physical therapists.

Early treatment focuses on:

  • Maintaining attention for basic activities
  • Reducing confusion
  • Orienting the child to time and place

Later on in recovery, treatment focuses on:

  • Finding ways to improve memory
  • Learning strategies to help problem solving, reasoning, and organizational skills
  • Working on social skills in small groups
  • Improving self-monitoring

Individual treatment with an SLP will continue to improve speech, language, and swallowing skills, if necessary. A physical therapist can help treat problems with balance and coordination.

If your child is learning how to use an augmentative or alternative communication device, we will focus on helping him or her use it more and more effectively.