Lillia- my then 5 year old son had a TBI with concussion. He had a very long recovery. The symptoms you describe with your daughter are exactly what we saw with our son. He was very emotional and often became giddy, out-of -control with laughter and running around. He was seen by our concussion clinic and under their care for more than 2 years. During that time, his symptoms slowly improved but recurred with any bump to the head. He wore a protected helmet and had to go to school with an aid so he would not get bumped or hit his head-no running, jumping etc... until symptoms were completely gone. It's hard to keep a boy down! The concussion clinic recommended that he could not hit his head at all at the risk of dying from second concussion while the first is not healed. Now, no concussion-prone activities for the rest of his life-quite a struggle to way the risk of activities and say no to soccer and basketball.
He is now 10, doing great and tested fine last year for any cognitive, executive function, etc...He does seem unorganized, has difficulty attending at times but more typical "boy" than clinical. A few strategies between home and school was all it took to get him on the ball.
However, watch her growth. My son's growth slowed tremendously following the head injury. At age 9, he was finally tested and diagnosed with pituitary disfunction-the head injury damaged his pituitary gland-he does not produce enough growth hormone or melatonin. We now give him shots every night and melatonin.
Originally Posted by Lillia
I was hoping to hear from anyone who's dealt with a concussion in a very young child (under 7 or so) -- whether there were long-term changes, months or years later.
My four-year-old daughter had a frontal lobe concussion in mid-February. She seemed to be recovering well at first -- there were some minor, immediate behavioral changes (sleep disturbances, moodiness), but we assumed these would subside as she recovered. About a month after the injury, she suddenly began showing more unnerving behavioral changes -- odd/inappropriate emotional responses (such as giggling uncontrollably in response to things that previously would have upset her, which then spirals into a period of increasingly hyper behavior), increasing inability to focus during conversation, loss of attention span, etc. The pediatric neurologist said these types of behaviors are common after frontal-lobe injuries but suggested that they usually fade within a month or two after the injury.
But these things seem to be getting worse rather than better. And I've been obsessively researching in an effort to educate myself on what to expect, and the research I've seen is so frightening. I thought the conventional wisdom was that children recover better from brain injuries than adults, because their brains are still developing. But I guess now the idea is that this means the damage they sustain is actually much worse. Some of the articles indicate that frontal-lobe concussions in very young children (under 7 or so) can actually can prevent the affected areas of the brain from ever developing. So a child may seem to have recovered, but then (as years pass) falls further and further behind socially, emotionally, and cognitively. Or learning deficits and behavioral problems may appear years later.
We're working on getting our daughter evaluated by a neuropsych to see whether there are any sort of therapies that might be helpful for her. But in the meantime, I am sort of desperately trying to find out what the outcomes have been for other people in similar situations. I know every injury is different, and everyone recovers differently. But it would still be helpful to hear from other people who've dealt with this kind of thing.