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Pediatric Brain Injury

Specialized Care and Rehabilitation With an Individualized Approach

small children on a skateboard

Children have a challenging road ahead when recovering from a traumatic brain injury after they’ve sustained a bump, blow or jolt to the head that disrupts normal brain function. Brain injuries in children are the leading cause of disability and death in young people, particularly those from ages 0 to 4 and 15 to 19.

Our pediatricians and pediatric neurologists at RWJBarnabas Health take a multidisciplinary approach when providing young patients with a broad range of medical care and rehabilitative therapies they need to recover.

Our team of specialists carefully assesses the child’s neurological status and function while attending to their medical needs to improve their fine motor function, speech, hearing and intellectual abilities.

Symptoms of Pediatric Brain Injuries

The nature of a child’s head injury and its consequences vary from mild to severe, and the course of recovery can be difficult to predict. The extent and location of the injury will determine the symptoms children have.

Early therapeutic intervention is vital to decrease the severity of symptoms in areas such as cognition, physical abilities, communication and social and behavioral development.

The Brain Injury Association of America reports the physical, cognitive and emotional impairments children may experience after a traumatic brain injury, which could include the following effects:

  • Physical. Children may experience frequent headaches and seizures. They may suffer impairments affecting:
    • Speech
    • Vision
    • Hearing
    • Motor coordination
    • Balance
  • Cognitive. Short-term memory deficits are common in children, as well as impaired concentration and communication. Children often have a more limited attention span and have difficulties with:
    • Planning
    • Writing
    • Reading
    • Making judgments
  • Emotional. After a traumatic brain injury, children often experience:
    • Mood swings
    • Self-centeredness
    • Anxiety
    • Depression
    • Lowered self-esteem
    • Restlessness
    • Lack of motivation
    • Difficulty controlling their emotions

What Does Rehabilitation for a Child with Brain Injury Include?

The impact of brain injuries on children may differ from adults, because children’s brains are still developing.

To develop a treatment plan, a child’s pediatrician and clinical team consider their age, previous functional levels and developmental status.

Physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech therapists, neuropsychologists and psychologists may be involved.

The clinicians evaluate the physical, emotional and cognitive functioning following the brain injury, combined with evaluations from other ancillary providers and testing, to come up with a comprehensive plan to help your child resume activities as soon as safely possible.

Rehabilitation will incorporate accommodations, modifications and support into the child’s everyday life in order to maximize recovery.

Patient Stories

  • “I would most definitely recommend Children’s Specialized to anyone going through a similar situation,”

    LJ
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  • "Wearing her scars with pride as she follows her acting dreams."

    Alexis
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Patient Stories

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Children's Specialized Hospital
200 Somerset Street
New Brunswick, NJ 08901
(888) 244-5373
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Opportunity Project
60 East Willow Street
Millburn, NJ 07041
(973) 921-1000
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Trinitas Children's Therapy Services
899 Mountain Ave
Suite 1-A
Springfield, NJ 07081
(973) 218-6394
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Brain Injury - Pediatric Treatment & Care

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