Boyes Turner are supporting Meningitis Now’s #MayMayhem campaign in which the focus is on putting the fun into workplace fundraising to support the charity’s important work.
Message behind the #maymayhem
Meanwhile, the message behind the mayhem is that meningitis kills. It also maims, leaving its survivors permanently disabled by limb loss and damage to the brain.
Whilst many of the physical effects of an acquired brain injury give rise to obvious disability, other consequences of the damage to the child’s developing brain can be more subtle, appearing and changing over time, making them harder to understand.
Emotional and behavioural after-effects of brain injury are often misinterpreted, particularly in a growing child or teenager. It is important for the child’s parents, wider family and school to recognise that the child may not be able to control or understand their own emotions and challenging behaviour, and to seek appropriate specialist help to support the child.
What emotional and behavioural changes can I expect following my child’s meningitis brain injury?
Meningitis Now lists some of the common difficulties that children may experience after a brain injury:
- Tiredness leads to frustration and irritability when the child finds it difficult to return quickly to former activities or struggles to cope at school.
- Mood swings, such as crying or laughing more quickly, temper tantrums, bedwetting and nightmares are common in the recovery period. Tiredness only makes them worse.
- Anxiety, depression and loss of confidence come from realising that the illness has changed their life, worry about becoming ill again and coping with the long-term effects of their injury.
- Apathy, lethargy, despondency and poor motivation can be misinterpreted as laziness, whereas they can arise from damage to the areas of the brain which affect arousal and initiation of activity. Without support, the child can slip beneath the radar at school, thereby failing to achieve their potential, and may become socially isolated.
- Anger and aggression come from impairment of the brain’s ability to control behaviour and from frustration or struggling to cope emotionally with their injury.
- Obsessive behaviour and lack of flexibility impede a child’s ability to adapt to different situations, including socially.
- Disinhibition and sexually inappropriate behaviour in which the older child has no insight into the consequences of their behaviour. This exposes them to added risk of harm, causing friction with parents and teachers, and isolates them from friends who find them embarrassing.
These behaviours can arise from neurological damage to the brain impeding the child’s ability to regulate their own behaviour but also from the child’s psychological reaction to their illness and its impact on their life, their former activities, friendships and independence. Cognitive impairment makes it difficult for the child to communicate their frustration and everything is made worse by fatigue, anxiety and confusion. The child’s pre-injury personality and the dynamics and stresses within the family will also affect the child’s behaviour. Medication, such as anti-convulsants, also affect the child’s tiredness, behaviour and learning capability.
At Boyes Turner we understand that following meningitis or a brain injury the damage may go far beyond the physical. We work with educational, clinical and neuropsychologists, and child psychiatrists to assess the full effect of the injury and to secure the funding necessary to provide rehabilitation, therapy and ongoing support.
Our clinical negligence lawyers also work closely with our Special Educational Needs team to ensure that the child receives appropriate SEN assistance, whether that is in a mainstream or specialist school. By ensuring that we fully understand the child’s needs we are able to secure for them higher levels of compensation.
If you are caring for a child who has suffered a brain injury as a result of negligent medical care please contact by email on firstname.lastname@example.org.