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Does your child have a traumatic brain injury?

You pick your son up after preschool and start the daily commute home. You're talking to him about his day, but your eyes are on the road the entire time. You're being careful. You're not distracted, you're not speeding, and you're following the flow of traffic.

Then, as you try to turn left onto your street, a driver who is texting and driving runs the red light. That driver plows right into the back of the car where your son is sitting, and his head hits the window.

Initially, you think your son got lucky and escaped without serious injury. However, you then read up on traumatic brain injuries, and you find out how serious they can be. They can change a child's life forever. The damage may never fully heal.

Worst of all, not only are the symptoms subtle, but your son may not be able to describe them to you the same way that an adult would. As a parent, you must know what symptoms to watch out for. When you see multiple symptoms, it may be time to head back to the hospital to meet with a medical professional.

So, what symptoms should you watch out for? A few examples include:

  1. Your son is far more irritable and cries often. When you try to console him, it doesn't help.
  2. Your son doesn't eat the way he used to. You know he must be hungry, but he's just not interested in food.
  3. Your son seems overly tired. He sleeps a lot, has trouble getting up, and seems listless and worn out even when he is awake.
  4. Your son's sleeping patterns change. Perhaps he used to sleep soundly through the night, but now he wakes up every hour.
  5. Your son doesn't appear to be sick, but he often vomits.
  6. Your son loses some of the new skills that he was easily learning before the accident. Maybe he was learning to read, for example, but now he can't. He may have trouble with speech, toilet training or other skills that came easily before.
  7. Your son's performance in school declines notably. He was always a good student and now he struggles.
  8. His balance isn't as good as it should be. He seems unsteady on his feet. He can walk, but he has a lot of trouble doing it and falls are more common.
  9. Your son doesn't play the way he used to. The toys and games that he once loved now no longer interest him.

People often talk about drastic personality changes. Some brain injuries can even make family members remark that they don't know the person anymore.

Traumatic brain injuries are hard to pin down since they're different for everyone, but these symptoms show that they're often drastic, costly and highly detrimental to a child's development. This is true even with subtle symptoms and minor external injuries.

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