Developmental Delays Due to Birth Injury

Cute BabyWhen talking about developmental delay, it is a condition wherein your child does not meet common developmental milestones at the expected times. This development can be anything from motor skills, language, or speech.

Development varies from child to child, and where one child can excel, another may take time. While each child has his or her own pace of growth, many causes can cause significant delays. If your child experiences a delay, there are a few ways that can help.

What Causes Developmental Delays?

Over the last century, pediatricians worked together to create a cumulative look at children’s development. They use their data as a measuring stick against a baseline of what we can consider normal. Whether they can tackle increasingly complex tasks, doctors set tests for a proper diagnosis. They try to determine whether or not the child has “developmental delay” or “developmental disability.”

There are many different types of potential developmental delays in children. Some children, for example, can be unable to understand instructions at 12 months old but can walk. It is even typical for children to master a single developmental area before others.

Sometimes, delays can also occur across the entire body, in many or all areas. These delays are what we call “global developmental delays.” Global developmental delays can have different causes. These include:

  • Genetic defects like Down’s Syndrome
  • Inheritable cognitive impairment
  • Fetal alcohol syndrome
  • Smoke toxicity
  • Severe medical conditions upon birth

Most developmental delays, when acknowledged and diagnosed correctly, can straighten out. Many global developmental delays, however, are permanent and would need special treatment.

Growth Areas Affected by Developmental Delays

Development is observable in one or more key growth areas. These growth areas can include:

  • Fine motor skills
  • Gross motor skills
  • Social skills
  • Language skills
  • Cognitive skills

Fine motor skills include playing, drawing, coloring, dressing up, and eating. Gross motor skills can pertain to standing, walking, balancing, and running. Social skills have cooperation, interaction, making friends, and connecting with family.

Language skills will include murmuring, making noises, saying words, and using body language. Cognitive skills consist of listening, reading, remembering, observation, and problem-solving.

Motor delays are easy to see, but language and cognitive delays take time. In many cases, both the latter will take a few years before they’re understood unless early detection happens. If the child is curious by nature, engages, and is sociable, it takes time to detect any developmental issues.

Problems like hearing loss and visual acuity issues can cause delays in development. Your pediatrician will account for medical issues before they diagnose a child for “mental retardation.”

Treating Developmental Delay

For many developmental delays, there are different types of diagnoses and treatments usable for children. These will help in the detection and cure of many development issues.

For starters, newborn and postnatal developmental screening happen to find potential developmental disabilities. These occur at different months, usually at 9, 18, 24, and 30 months. For children at higher risk for developmental problems, discuss with their healthcare if more screening can help.

The developmental test uses a screening tool to indicate if a child is on the right track. It is not, however, diagnosis. If the screening tool finds an area of concern, formal diagnostic methods will take place.

Formal evaluation happens with a trained specialist, usually with a developmental pediatrician. Some other specialists, like a child psychologist or a speech pathologist, can also help.

How Birth Injuries Can Cause Developmental Delay

Some things need to happen to determine if birth injuries or medical malpractice caused birth disability or developmental delay, some things need to happen. For starters, the child needs to undergo careful observation, along with intelligence testing. Rigorous interviews will happen to find potential causes, together with full-scale lab testing.

Malpractice suits would need to involve a specialist, which means diagnosis and treatment needs to occur. If the child is positive for developmental delays, the journey will continue. Your child will receive medical care, undergo special schooling, and even lifelong therapy.

Keep in mind that developmental delays can limit your child’s future options. It can prevent them from living with independence as an adult. Expect emotional and financial burden, too, especially for more complicated cases.

Consult a Birth Injury Attorney About Your Child’s Developmental Delay

Developmental delays can happen to anyone’s child. If you took good care of yourself during pregnancy and have no history of potential causes at all, you and your child can be due to a birth injury. Complications from poor care during pregnancy or delivery can cause such issues.

If you believe your child is the victim of a developmental delay, there’s potential for medical malpractice. Talk to an experienced birth injury attorney or medical malpractice lawyer to see if negligent care entitles you to compensation. Consult with a veteran attorney today at The Clark Law Office.


Developmental Milestones | CS Mott Children’s Hospital | Michigan Medicine

Facts About Developmental Disabilities | CDC

Delayed Neurological Complications after Head Trauma

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