Early Childhood Intervention: Module Two – Special Needs & Conditions

Category — 2.1 Children with Nervous System Disorders: Brain Injury

Children with Acquired Brain Injury (ABI)

Acquired Brain Injury (ABI)1 is a broad term that describes a vast array of injuries that occur to the brain. The severity of a brain injury can range from a mild concussion to a severe injury. ABI occurs when there is a sudden, external, physical damage to the brain. It is one of the most common causes of disability and death.  Shaken Baby Syndrome is the most common cause of ABI. Shaken Baby Syndrome happens when a baby is shaken and his or her brain suffers damage because of the impact of the movement. This may cause major developmental delays that cannot be reversed.


For young children the diagnosis of ABI can be very difficult, because the child may not exhibit any abnormal symptoms. Later in life, when faced with more challenging or abstract situations, damage to the frontal lobe may become apparent.

Intervention Options

  • Physiotherapy (PT): Some children may have lost the ability to walk, sit or move independently and may need the help to re-acquire some gross motor skills.
  • Occupational Therapy (OT): Children may need to re-learn some fine motor or oral/motor skills they need to feed, dress, and change themselves. This is known as rehabilitation.
  • Speech Language Pathology (SLP): Children may need to re-learn how to talk and/or use language.
  • Sensory Intervention (SI): Children may develop atypical sensory sensations to light or sound.
  • Behaviour Intervention (BI): Children may develop severe behavior difficulties because of memory or concentration difficulties, hyper- sensitivity to certain stimuli and/or issues with anger and emotional instability.
  • IDP/AIDP Consultation: Children may be referred to IDP/AIDP and their development may be monitored
  • SCD/ASCD: After the age of three the child may be referred to SCD/ASCD.
  • Vision Specialists: The child’s vision may need to be monitored.
  • Mental Health Specialists: Children with ABI may exhibit extremes in behavior, personality changes and/or mood and anger issues, as well as difficulties to adjust to new situations or environments.
  • Academic preparation/Learning specialists: Children with ABI may experience difficulties with memory processes, ability to concentrate and solve problems, and difficulties with sequencing and spatial perception.

To learn about Traumatic Brain Injury in the middle childhood years, please visit the six to 12 part of this course:

1. References


February 23, 2011   No Comments