Central Nervous System (CNS) Injuries

Acquired CNS injuries consist of brain and spinal cord injuries occurring after birth that are caused by either an external force or an internal “trauma” event such as a stroke, tumor, infection in the brain or a spinal cord “incident”. A child that has suffered an Acquired CNS injury can often experience a wide range of persistent cognitive, behavioral, social and functional difficulties. Acquired CNS injuries differ in severity and symptoms as well as the extent of impact the injury has on the child and their family.

Most children receive immediate medical attention for the physical aspects of their injury and then participate in some type of rehabilitation program. Unfortunately, however, despite the numerous emotional problems that can occur following a CNS injury, few families obtain mental health services for their child or the family. Acquired CNS injuries have a significant emotional impact not only on the child but on their entire family. Children with CNS injuries often need help in dealing with the emotional responses to their injury and the resulting life changes. It is equally important for families to receive help for the emotional adjustments and changes brought on by a CNS injury to a family member.

Some of the common concerns that can surface in a child following a pediatric CNS injury may include cognitive differences, behavioral changes, physical differences, communication difficulties, trouble with thinking and staying focused, social isolation, and low self-esteem. The child’s family may experience problems such as increased family conflict, symptoms of depression or anxiety in some of the family members, increased stress in those caring for the child, feelings of isolation, a loss of income resulting in financial hardship, feelings of grief and loss, difficulty in making sense of injury, decreased attention for siblings, and changes in usual family boundaries.

Research results show that children with CNS injuries and their families who experience some of the above emotional or physical changes generally benefit from seeking professional help.

At Silber Psychological Services we have staff members that have experience in helping children and their families stabilize after a CNS injury by developing a comprehensive plan that will promote healing and ongoing recovery for the entire family. Neuropsychological testing may or may not be necessary, but can be conducted to help formulate the treatment plan and monitor progress. In cases of CNS injuries, a wide variety of treatment approaches are needed to bring about successful results. The best research results available are utilized in the formulation of the treatment plan. Our staff can consult with the child’s school regarding IEP reviews and 504 plan reviews to ensure that appropriate goals are included in the child’s academic program that will simultaneously support ongoing recovery and academic progress.