BRAIN INJURY IN CHILDHOOD AND ADOLESCENCE
Clinical Psychology Associates of North Central Florida Gainesville and Ocala Florida CPANCF.COM
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Our office has more than 20 years of experience in pediatric neuropsychological assessment of brain injury in children, adolescents and adults. Pediatric neuropsychological assesment services for children, adolescents and college students includes assessment of ADHD, Specific Learning Disability, Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD, formerly classified as Autism, Asperger's, pervasive developmental disorder (PDD), neurodevelopmental disorders, cerebral palsy, mental retardation, pediatric brain cancer, sickle cell disease, neurological birth injuries, anoxia and pediatic concussions or childhood traumatic brain injures.
Motor vehicle accidents are common cause of adolescent and young adult mortality and head injury, but children can be prone to head injury from a variety of activities. Education such as our article on preventing summertime head injuries or on considerations in driving for ADHD teens reflect efforts at reducing preventable traumatic brain injury.
Assessment of children can be more complicated than that of adults as the brain goes through several stages of development and maturation including spurts of myelinization and continued myelinization into late teen and even early adult years. Children are also faced with periodic as well as more constant challenges in terms of increased demands on productivity, multi-tasking, abstraction, writing, expression, learning and memory. Due to the developing brain and changing demands, repeat neuropsychological testing is very common and necessary.
Childhood and pediatric concussions can also differ in terms of their presentation. Loss of consciousness may be less frequent and children may simply manifest with periods on non-responsiveness. Children and adolescents in contact sports may be motivated to minimize impact due to a desire to keep playing and those with pre-existing learning disability or other neurodevelopmental disorders may be at risk for greater impact from mild concussions.
Different age-appropriate tests are necessary for the neuropsychological assessment of children. Behavior and observational scales which rely on observations and collateral report are more common in assessments of children. These often include teacher as well as parent scales. Experience in working with and assessing children for head injuries as well as for more commonly encountered difficulties such as learning disabilities and ADHD helps the experienced child or pediatric neuropsychologist avoid misdiagnosis.
The study of of the cognitive, motor, attentional, memory, and behavior of children related to brain functioning or disease is known as pediatric neuropsychology.