Objectives: A follow-up study is reported of 40 children between the ages of 1 month and 5.6 years who had sustained a brain injury either with (n = 11) or without (n = 29) additional injuries.
Method: Children and their families were assessed at both 1 and 6 months after hospital discharge with standardized measures of functional performance and family functioning, including the Child Behavior Checklist, the Pediatric Evaluation of Disability Inventory, and the Impact on Family Scale. In addition to within-group analyses, functional outcome was compared to that of a group of 17 children who had sustained non-central nervous system injuries.
Results: Mean scores for both groups of injured children were within the average range at both 1-month and 6-month follow-up testing. There was a general trend toward improved performance across the follow-up period, although only a few of these changes reached statistical significance. The effect of the injury as reported by the family was significantly associated with children's function as reflected by number of behavior problems and increased need for caregiver assistance.
Conclusion: Results point to the need for systematic follow-up of young children after brain injury using sensitive measures to enable early identification of children whose further development may be at risk and to provide support to families whose children are displaying changes in functional behavior.