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Brain Injury: The early years

It was the mother who sensed something was a little off early on. The maternal bond certainly existed, but there seemed to be a slight disconnect. It wasn't until the child reached toddler years that the father could accept what the mother was trying to describe.

The child was entered in his first "daycare", an actual home which was set up to care for four or five children. From about six months into his stay, it became clear something was wrong. At home, the issues seemed to show only at times the child felt any level of distress. The child would obsess with a toy or game. For example, the child was obsessed with "Car Wash" facilities, but during his first ride through one, he scream to the point of hysteria.

Haircuts could only be done with a comb and shears, Any attempt to use an electronic device resulted in the same hysterical reaction. The child was tested, but classic autism was ruled out.

Thus, the saga of trying to help the child develop emotionally began. As did the attempt to isolate what could be the cause of the child's condition. After four daycare facilities in four years, the answers remained elusive.

The father has always suspected the birth process contributed to the child's condition. It was a very difficult birth, which resulted in the mother's extended hospital stay in order to recover. In order for the child to be delivered, his body had to be repositioned; a suction device was necessary to assist in extracting and birthing the baby.

Once delivered, the head formation was literally cone shaped. The father worried about this, but was assured this was not unhealthy. Swelling was to be expected, with the skull naturally configured to traverse the birth canal.

Still, it appeared that the deformation exceeded what should be considered normal. Suffice to say that the years following were anything but normal.

Whether damage to the brain did occur from this point, or during fetal development, or at some point thereafter, the lack of reliable, economical therapies to identify issues with the brain were quickly felt.

In addition, real assistance, beyond medication and counseling, remains elusive. In our society, the demands on parents to raise a family can increase to unbearable levels when a disabled child is added to the home.

In retrospect, the child and the parents could have benefited if a test had been available to confirm or rule out any physical impact on baby's brain. Perhaps our grandchildren will have the benefit of early detection technology

More to come


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