“Kira is 16 now, but in many ways she’s still a little girl,” says her mum Erika.
Kira was a bright, happy two-year-old when, sadly, she was involved in a car accident which resulted in devastating injuries to her brain. Kira suffered injuries to the left side of her brain, which meant that the right side of her body was affected. Kira’s brain injury has affected all aspects of her life, leaving her with both learning and physical disabilities. Kira uses a wheelchair and needs help with everyday basics like eating and washing, so carers come to the house twice a day.
“Kira's speech is limited and she reads at about the level of a six or seven-year-old,” Erika says. “She is physically well but, as she has no sense of danger, she’s very vulnerable.”
Erika is thankful that Kira has no real understanding of what happened to her, commenting: “Kira has got the same happy personality she had before her head injury. She is always positive and very popular.”
At home, Kira’s therapy room is decorated in bright, primary colours suitable for her developmental age. But her chic pink bedroom is very much a teenage girl’s room.
“Kira is a young lady now and, despite the severe disabilities caused by her head injury, it’s important that is recognised,” Erika says.
Funded by Action, Researchers at Imperial College London are developing sophisticated new brain scans to enable more accurate diagnosis of children’s problems after head injuries. Researchers in Cambridge are seeking to improve treatment of severe brain injuries in children using advanced monitoring techniques. And another Action funded team recently conducted a large trial into the potential benefits of memory training for children who have survived a head injury.
This work is, Erika feels, vital: “The brain is so complex. There definitely needs to be more research to help children who, like Kira, have suffered a serious head injury.”
During the late 1960s and the 1970s, grants awarded by Action Medical Research led doctors at the University of Glasgow to develop the now-famous Glasgow Coma Scale to assess head injuries - you can find out more here.
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