Ep. 65: Identifying and Supporting Kids with Concussions with Dr. Talin Babikian

Jan 25, 2022 | 0 comments

Impulsivity and distractibility seen in some kids who learn and think differently puts them at greater risk for injuries and accidents, including head injuries. Now that sports games and practices are back in action following pandemic cancellations, it is important to talk about these risks and what to do to support kids who experience concussions.

Today’s guest, Dr. Talin Babikian, explains concussions, which are mild traumatic brain injuries. She also shares with us what to look for in the event of an injury. There are many mental health challenges and environmental stressors related to head injuries, and Dr. Babikian inspires us to focus on what we can control – being the caring adult that a struggling child can connect with.


Show Notes:

[2:51] – This topic is something Dr. Babikian is very passionate about.

[3:49] – Most concussions in children happen while playing recreational sports. Dr. Babikian explains what a traumatic brain injury is.

[5:14] – Our physiology is designed to be able to handle some brain movement within the skull.  There are different levels of brain injury.

[6:57] – Most of the time, kids will fully recover from mild brain injuries, but they should all be taken seriously.

[9:00] – Dr. Babikian shares what symptoms to look for, mainly changes in behavior.

[11:40] – Helmets are incredibly important, but they give people a false sense of security because they don’t prevent concussions.

[13:08] – Brain scans are not tools to detect concussions.

[14:38] – There is a window of time that doctors look for in which kids should recover from a concussion. There are chronic symptoms that could happen past that window.

[17:01] – There are different paths to recovery for each child.

[18:12] – Anxiety can be concerning after concussions.

[19:56] – Kids with ADHD tend to be more likely to have accidents that could result in concussions.

[22:01] – Some kids show symptoms of ADHD after a head injury.

[24:40] – There will be a level of emotional response to the injury as well as seeing emotional changes as a result of the injury.

[26:30] – Caregiving, peer interactions, mentorships, and other environmental factors make a huge difference in moving forward.

[27:51] – Dr. Babikian discusses mental health risk factors in youth.

[30:29] – Dr. Babikian shares a story from early in her career that shows the importance of having a connection with a caring adult.

[33:40] – There are many things we can’t change, but we can offer the connection children truly need.


About Our Guest:

Dr. Talin Babikian is a board-certified clinical neuropsychologist with over 16 years of experience in both private practice and academic settings working with a broad spectrum of children and young adults, and their families. She is Associate Clinical Professor in the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and Associate Director of BrainSPORT at UCLA, an inter-departmental and multi-disciplinary program for identifying and treating brain injuries — including concussions — in youth and professional athletes, where she oversees the Sports Neuropsychology Fellowship training program. Dr. Babikian earned a doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology with an emphasis in Neuropsychology from Loma Linda University in 2005. She completed a combined research/clinical postdoctoral fellowship in pediatric neuropsychology at the UCLA School of Medicine, specializing in general pediatric neuropsychology and a research focus in brain injuries in youth. Dr. Babikian is actively involved in research using novel neuroimaging techniques to understand neurocognitive outcomes and the course of repair and recovery following a brain injury in childhood. She has authored and presented several publications on this topic in journals, book chapters, and professional seminars nationally and internationally.


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The Diverse Thinking Different Learning podcast is intended for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical or legal advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Additionally, the views and opinions expressed by the host and guests are not considered treatment and do not necessarily reflect those of ChildNEXUS, Inc or the host, Dr. Karen Wilson.