Very young children are often attention-deficit by nature. As they age and mature, they become more able to focus, quickly shift their attention, or inhibit inappropriate responses. When a very young child has a brain injury, it can often be difficult to assess the extent of injury-related disability because the child has yet to reach certain developmental milestones.
Recent research has found that attention deficits can persist for as long as ten years in children who sustained a brain injury during their preschool years. Some of these deficits are not uncovered until the child is older and has to deal with a different set of expectations from parents and teachers. Children who sustained a severe traumatic brain injury are even more likely to have attention deficits.
Parents should therefore be aware of any new attention problems that are uncovered as the child gets older. In addition, each of the child's teachers should be educated about the injury and the potential for new problems to occur.
Catroppa C, Anderson V, Godfrey C, & Rosenfeld JV. Attentional skills 10 years post-paedatric traumatic brain injury (TBI). Brain Injury. (August 2011).