For parents whose children suffered traumatic brain injuries, they immediately want answers on not only the immediate effects, but also their children’s long-term prognosis.
More than 630,000 children and teenagers nationwide are treated in emergency rooms for TBI each year. Information is power for parents whose children face an uncertain future. Those feeling powerless may be getting the answers they need.
At the annual meeting of the Association of Academic Physiatrists in Las Vegas, researchers from Cincinnati Children’s presented findings on the recovery of TBI victims seven years after suffering their injuries.
The study shows that patients with mild to moderate brain injuries are two times more likely to develop attention problems. Accident victims who suffered more severe injuries are five times more likely to develop attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
While citing the importance of identifying genes vital to recovery, researchers also noted more intangible factors that, when combined with medical treatment, can facilitate recovery. Those include:
- Family functioning
- Parenting practices
- Home environment
- Socioeconomic status
Researchers uncovered a commonality in the power that mothers and fathers hold when they focus on positive home environments. The study shows a significant effect on improving recovery and reducing the development of attention problems. Over time, optimal home settings for children often result in few long-term effects of brain injuries.
Conversely, more disadvantaged or chaotic home environments show children with milder injuries continuing to deal with more persistent problems.
Effective parenting in a positive setting is vital for long-term success. Proactive steps by parents can significantly help with social functioning that includes information processing, inhibition and reasoning. In these environments, children seem to thrive over the long-term without suffering across-the-board deficits.