In this section
There may be physical
changes in a child after a brain injury, ranging from small balance
problems to difficulties with standing up or moving their arms.
Recovery is different for each child, but most children will
improve over time. An occupational therapist, physiotherapist and
speech pathologist will all be involved in trying to make your
child's physical recovery the best it can be.
Each child with a brain injury shows different
physical changes depending on the type of injury,
the part of the brain that was injured and how serious the injury was. Children almost always show improvement, although some
will have long term physical changes. These changes can affect
their ability to do everyday activities such as eating, dressing
after a brain injury can include:
Physical recovery is
different for each child and cannot be predicted. However, there is
nearly always improvement over time. Physical recovery usually
happens more quickly than cognitive (thinking) recovery. Active
rehabilitation and family support help with physical
An occupational therapist,
physiotherapist and speech pathologist can help work towards the best outcomes for your child's
physical recovery. Family participation in therapy sessions is very
important so the family can help their child continue therapy
activities at home after discharge from hospital.
During therapy sessions, your child will relearn physical skills such as standing, walking, balance, coordination, controlled speech and using their
hands and arms for self care and play.
Therapists have many ways
to help physical recovery and prevent complications. These may
include sessions in the therapy gym, casts and splints,
hydrotherapy (therapy in water), speaking and communication exercises, handwriting
activities and use of equipment such as the tilt table and walking
devices. Therapists also help your child relearn everyday
activities such as dressing, showering, feeding, returning to
school and taking part in sport and fun activities. All of these activities will
place different challenges on your child's physical
After a brain injury,
children get tired easily. Because of this they need regular, short
bursts of therapy balanced with rest periods. Some children
will need regular therapy for longer, while other children may only
need review and monitoring by the therapy team.
Developed by The Royal Children's Hospital Paediatric
Rehabilitation Service. We acknowledge the input of RCH consumers and carers.
Reviewed August 2020.
Health Info is supported by The Royal Children’s Hospital Foundation. To
donate, visit www.rchfoundation.org.au.
This information is intended to support, not replace, discussion with your doctor or healthcare professionals. The authors of these consumer health information handouts have made a considerable effort to ensure the information is accurate, up to date and easy to understand. The Royal Children's Hospital Melbourne accepts no responsibility for any inaccuracies, information perceived as misleading, or the success of any treatment regimen detailed in these handouts. Information contained in the handouts is updated regularly and therefore you should always check you are referring to the most recent version of the handout. The onus is on you, the user, to ensure that you have downloaded the most up-to-date version of a consumer health information handout.