Symptoms of Infant Brain Damage

Symptoms of Infant Brain DamageThere may be nothing more devastating to a family than when a newborn child suffers from brain damage. It takes what should be a joyful moment and turns it into a time of heartbreak.

Brain damage is not always detected in the hospital. They symptoms might not become apparent until you take your child home, or even until months later as your baby grows. Do you know what symptoms to look for?

Knowing the symptoms of infant brain damage can help get your child diagnosed as soon as possible. This means he or she will receive treatment sooner, saving precious time.

Once your child is properly diagnosed and is being treated, you should turn to a brain damage attorney to help your family seek the financial assistance you need to get past this hardship. You are not alone.

At the Brain Injury Law Center in Hampton, Virginia, our brain injury attorneys have four decades of experience handling brain damage cases with compassion, dedication and success. If your child has suffered brain damage, contact our office today to speak with an attorney.

What Are The Symptoms of Infant Brain Damage?

Many infant brain damage symptoms can be detected just after birth. Other symptoms may not be visible until years later, when your child is a toddler, or even older.

It’s important to note that just because your child exhibits one or more of these symptoms, he or she may not have suffered a brain injury. The symptoms described here are not limited to infant brain damage, and may very well be a symptom of a far less serious condition. Infant brain damage needs to be diagnosed by a medical professional.

Brain Damage Symptoms Visible Just After Birth

Here are some of the physical and temperament-related symptoms that are apparent shortly after a newborn comes out of the womb: 

Physical Symptoms Temperament-Related Signs
Unusually shaped spine Trouble sleeping while lying down
Abnormally large forehead Excessive crying
Facial features that appear distorted Unusual problems with feeding
An unusually small head  Excessively fussy for no reason at all
Neck stiffness  
Difficulty focusing the eyes  

Developmental Delays

In many cases, infant brain damage will go undiagnosed until your child should be reaching milestones like his or her first steps or first words. These symptoms of brain damage can be heartbreaking for a family, as they can ruin what should be some of your family’s most precious moments. These developmental delays can be broken into three categories: cognitive, emotional and physical symptoms.

Cognitive Brain Damage Symptoms

These are the symptoms parents will notice as their child grows older and misses normal non-physical achievements, like learning to read and write. Sometimes, this brain damage isn’t noticeable until the child has started school. In some cases, attention disorders like ADD or ADHD will be diagnosed before a brain injury is suspected. In other instances, brain injuries may manifest in more obvious conditions like autism or Asperger’s syndrome.

Emotional Brain Damage Symptoms

Emotional Brain Damage Symptoms

Many of these symptoms are easily noticeable, though you may not associate them with infant brain damage. Emotional symptoms of brain damage affect how a child acts, sending them into unusual fits and mood swings. Since all children can be emotional, we want to urge you not to overreact and assume your child has a brain injury just because your baby seems restless or irritable. Brain injury symptoms typically manifest in extreme forms.

Physical Brain Damage Symptoms

While some physical symptoms can be hard to diagnose, others will be more obvious. Any physical signs of infant brain injury will be easier to spot as your child ages.

Here is a chart of what to look out for with all three forms of developmental delays:

Cognitive Symptoms Emotional Symptoms Physical Symptoms
Short-term memory problems Wild mood swings Impaired speech
Difficulty concentrating Unusually strong stages of denial Problems with vision
Struggles with processing information An unusual sense of self-centeredness Difficulty hearing
Slowness in thinking Heightened sense of anxiety Unusual frequency of headaches
Limited attention span Strong feelings of depression Impaired motor skills
Problems with impulse control Unusually low self-esteem Muscles spasms
Difficulty communicating Heightened instances of restlessness Paralysis
Difficulty reading Severe lack of motivation Trouble with balance
Difficulty writing Hard time controlling emotions Extreme fatigue
Not able understanding basic planning Sensitivity to light
Impaired judgement Sleeping disorders

Be mindful of any milestones your child misses. They include what may seem like minor achievements, as well as the important ones that every parent anticipates:

  • First words
  • Remembering words for objects
  • Remembering names and places
  • Forming sentences
  • Crawling
  • Walking
  • Running
  • Pulling themselves up without help
  • Hopping or skipping
  • Walking up and down stairs without help
  • Feeding themselves without help
  • Tying shoes
  • Drawing and coloring without help
  • Getting dressed alone
  • Holding onto objects with a firm grasp

Symptoms of Cerebral Palsy, Anoxia and Hypoxia

Cerebral palsy, anoxia and hypoxia are some of the most common forms of brain damage, and they have their own sets of symptoms. Our brain injury attorneys have successfully handled many cases with clients who suffer from these particular conditions.

Symptoms of Cerebral Palsy Symptoms of Hypoxia/Anoxia
Impaired balance Severe confusion
Poor muscle control Short-term memory loss
Problems with coordination Poor judgement
Poor reflexes Impulsiveness
Poor posture Indecisiveness
Trouble eating or swallowing Difficulty processing information verbally
Poor facial muscle tone Difficulty processing visual information
Speech impairment Poor coordination
Sensory impairment Inability to execute normal tasks
Seizures Weakness in all four limbs
Learning disabilities Headaches

How is Infant Brain Damage Diagnosed?

 Most instances of infant brain damage are diagnosed with a combination of observing symptoms and analyzing head scans, such as an MRI or a CT scan. When a doctor has a detailed image of your baby’s brain, the doctor can clearly diagnose what happened, whether it is a skull fracture, brain hemorrhage or other damage.

For babies two years old or younger, diagnosis can be more difficult. An algorithm developed by the Pediatric Emergency Care Network (PERCARN) has proven to be very effective. This method for diagnosing infants uses a mix of diagnosis from the Glasgow Coma Scale to determine consciousness. The scale has proved to be a reliable indicator of a person’s conscious state, and thus a valuable indicator of whether their brain is damaged. A CT scan will only be recommended if the child scores less than a 15 on the Glasgow Coma Scale, unless his or her symptoms are particularly strong.

Brain Damage Treatment, Prognosis and Recovery

 Infant brain damage typically has effects that will last for your child’s entire life. But that does not mean there are no worthwhile treatment options, which include:

  • Acute treatment at the time the brain injury occurs. This can reduce swelling and bleeding, possibly saving the child’s life.
  • Surgery
  • Cognitive/emotional therapy
  • Physical rehabilitation
  • Medications that help attention, concentration and aggressive behavior

One newer treatment method involves therapeutic cooling, which reduces body heat, sometimes stemming damage before it leads to cerebral palsy or epilepsy.

Every brain injury case is different, and it’s important to know that while advances in medicine are treating infant brain damage better than ever, there is no guarantee any treatment will help your child recover completely. In fact, the sobering fact is that there is a very good chance that if your child has suffered brain damage, his or her life will be impacted forever. And so will yours.

However, your child can learn to navigate the world despite the learning or developmental disabilities caused by a brain injury. Our attorneys have seen it happen. Occupational and physical therapy can do wonders for an infant’s ability to live as normal a life he or she can.

Legal help can make your burden easier. Hiring an experienced brain injury attorney to seek the financial compensation you deserve can brighten the future for your family.

How a Virginia Brain Injury Attorney Can Help

If your child suffered a brain injury during birth due to a medical professional’s negligence in Hampton or elsewhere in VA, you shouldn’t have to feel this emotional pain. A lawyer can help you get compensated for associated medical costs and more. Compensation can’t take back what happened, but it can help provide for the best possible future for your child.

At the Brain Injury Law Center, our founder and director Stephen M. Smith is a nationally known attorney who is frequently consulted by other attorneys on the subject of brain injury litigation. He knows brain injury law. He has settled cases and won verdicts in the Hampton area and around Virginia for tens of millions of dollars. This compensation helps families provide for their children and move on the best they can with life.

If you would like to discuss your case with an attorney, call us when you’re ready at (877) 537-43405 or email us by using the form on this page for a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss your case.

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