Outcome from childhood brain injury and insult is highly variable, and while severity of insult is consistently offered as the best predictor of recovery, research shows that it lacks sensitivity and precision.
Established research has clearly articulated the deficits sustained by children who sustain acquired brain injury and highlighted the vulnerability of the developing brain to disruption, leading to resultant multidimensional functional impairment. More recently, research focus has turned to identifying predictors of these impairments, including injury/insult factors (severity, lesion volume and location, blood biomarkers, presence of disability, seizures), child factors (age, sex, pre-injury function) and environmental factors (social disadvantage, quality of family environment, parent mental health and coping).
The majority of research to date has taken a ‘pathology’ focus, documenting deficits and impairments, many of which are resistant to intervention and/or treatment.
Despite this large and growing literature, we are still far from being able to accurately identify children who will demonstrate good recovery from their injuries. This symposium aims to offer an alternative approach to better understanding children’s recovery trajectories and outcomes. Borrowing from the developmental psychology literature and mental health field, we will present 3 papers exploring the benefits of determining factors that underpin resilience. Presenters will address common causes of childhood brain injury/insult (e.g., traumatic brain injury, stroke, birth trauma) and consider developmental, environmental and biological influences, as well as approaches to intervention/treatment, using a bio-psychosocial framework.