Every year a high number of children sustain injuries that could result in a hidden disability. According to The Children’s Trust, the number of children sustaining injuries that will result in an Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) is approximately 5000 (the equivalent of 157 classes of school children). ABI is often called “a hidden disability” and its effects frequently go unrecognised by parents and teachers.
ABI can be caused by an injury to the head, perhaps sustained in a road accident or a fall. Other causes of lasting brain damage include stroke, choking, near-drowning or severe illness such as meningitis. On the surface children with a brain injury may look and behave normally until they are put under pressure or face a situation they are unaccustomed to, such as the transition from primary to secondary school.
The Children’s Trust is currently campaigning to raise awareness of ABI and its symptoms. Fiona Adcock spokesperson for the Trust says, “Getting used to the transition to secondary school can be difficult for any young person, but for those with an Acquired Brain Injury it’s around this time of year that any difficulties they have in thinking, making friends and managing their behaviour in class can start to have a major negative impact on their lives.”
When children go back to school after October half term it’s important that parents and teachers are vigilant and support any child they think may have sustained a brain injury in the past. Common effects of ABI to be aware of include a shortened attention span, memory problems, extreme fatigue and balance/coordination problems.