Age effects in the recovery of motor, somatosensory, and visual-spatial skills following pediatric head injury



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This prospective, longitudinal study of the recovery of motor, somatosensory, and visual-spatial functions following pediatric closed head injury supports previous literature describing a systematic relationship of performance levels with injury severity. Furthermore, systematic relationships were demonstrated between injury severity and the rate of recovery during the first post-injury year. Age effects were found suggesting greater vulnerability for children on a somatosensory and a constructional task. In addition, adolescents were at greater risk for deficits in fine motor speed and on a grapho-motor task. These age effects lend support to the functional maturation hypothesis. Correlates of recovery from hemiparesis included the type of pathological process and proximity to the corticospinal pathways. Site of injury was not significantly related to performance in most task domains. Differential recovery patterns for speed and accuracy were demonstrated on a somatosensory task. Finally, this study supports the utility of Hierarchical Linear Modelling for assessing the correlates of change.



Head, Wounds and injuries, Complications, Brain-damaged children, Rehabilitation