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Traumatic Injuries to Children May Cause Long-Term Behavioral Effects

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According to studies conducted by the National Center for Child Traumatic Stress and the National Scientific Council on the Developing Child, traumatic events experienced by children, including injuries, can have long-term effects on a child's physical and behavioral development. The old axiom is that trauma to young children has no lasting effects because they are too young to remember the event. However, recent studies demonstrate that young children, including infants, are even more at risk than older children and adults because of their developing brain.

Traumatic events experienced by young children are associated with reduced development of the brain cortex. These physical changes in the child's brain may lead to a lower IQ and problems regulating emotions. Child victims are also more likely grow up feeling unsafe and fearful. Moreover, the NCCTS states that children who have experienced severe trauma "generally have difficulty regulating their behaviors and emotions...They may be clingy and fearful of new situations, easily frightened, difficult to console, and/or aggressive and impulsive." Even children younger than two may exhibit the following symptoms: 1) poor verbal skills; 2) memory problems; 3) excessive temper; 4) aggression; 5) excessive crying; 6) anxiety; 7) digestive problems; 8) poor sleep habits; and 9) low appetite.

Studies conducted by the National Scientific Council on the Developing Child in conjunction with Harvard University further demonstrate the potential physical manifestations of early trauma. Being exposed to strong or frequent stressful events as a child may cause the brain to overproduce neural connections in areas of the brain associated with fear and anxiety. This overdevelopment in certain areas of the brain may cause long-term psychological illness as an adult.

Parents of children who have experienced severe trauma may want to seek an evaluation from a mental health professional. Parents may also want to seek assistance with any developmental delays, such as in speech or motor skills.

Physical trauma is one of the most common traumatic stressors experienced by children. In fact, one in three children under the age of six experiences an injury severe enough to require medical assistance. If your child has been injured as the result of someone's personal injury, the experienced lawyers at the law firm of Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Sorrels, Agosto & Aziz can assist with your claim. Call us today at 713-222-7211 or 1-800-870-9584 for your free consultation.

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