When will my son get better?

Published: Monday | November 2, 2009

Q. My child's head was damaged due to a fall from a mango tree. What are some of the things that I can do to help him get better quickly?

A. Your child will take some time to heal from the injury. The amount of time will depend on the extent of the injury. Here are some of the things that you can do: Face your child when speaking with him as eye contact will promote attention, speak slowly and clearly, keep your conversation logical - do not jump from topic to topic, ensure that your child understands what you are saying before you go to another topic - and be patient. He will need time to heal. Remember to keep your medical and neuropsychologist appointments.

Q. I have seen where you have written about cognitive skills. What exactly are cognitive skills?

A. Cognitive skills are the basic mental abilities we use to think, study and learn. These include abilities which tell you if an individual can understand what you say to him/her, if the person learns quickly or slowly, if the person forgets skills learned quickly, and the ability to stay focused on tasks, among other things.

Q. There is a lot of drama at my house as my mentally ill stepbrother refuses to go for his medication. When he becomes unstable, I cannot go to work. I work at an office and this is jeopardising my job opportunities. He will get loud and I do not know what to do except to run behind him and try to calm him down. I promised my mother when she was dying that I would take care of him.

What can I do?

A. It is important that during the times that your sibling becomes unstable, you are careful how you respond to him. Be very calm, do not get angry. Remove all objects that may be used to cause injuries. You need to get in touch with his psychiatrist and ask for a home visit. Also, seek help from the public-health nurse at the local clinic in your community. Do not feel guilty if he has to be placed in an institution. It may be in your best interest. If this is what has to happen, visit him as often as you can and follow through to ensure that he gets the best treatment.

Orlean Brown Earle, PhD, is a child psychologist and family therapist. Dr Brown-Earle works with children with learning and behaviour problems throughout the island and in the Caribbean. Email questions to helpline@gleanerjm.com or send to Ask the Doc, c/o The Gleaner Company, 7 North Street, Kingston.

Children having fun at Emancipation Park in New Kingston. - file

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