What are Developmental Disabilities?
Developmental Disabilities are not new in this world, but advocacy and further research allowed more parents to develop awareness and seek help.
Developmental Delay is a type of birth injury when a child is not able to achieve milestones expected of their age. There are several milestones for the different areas of growth: gross motor skills, fine motor skills, language and communication skills, self-help skills, cognitive abilities, and social/ emotional development. Developmental delays may persist throughout a child’s life, especially if not addressed with early intervention strategies fit for the child’s needs to maximize function and learning.
Causes of Developmental Disabilities
Many factors can contribute to a child’s developmental disabilities. Some are associated with other medical conditions, such as the following:
These are injuries incurred during the birthing process of the baby. Some are unavoidable complications, while others can be prevented and may need immediate and adequate care. These may be grounds for medical malpractice.
Birth injuries include:
- Birth asphyxia – complications during pregnancy and birth can cause loss of oxygen in the brain, therefore damaging brain cells essential for growth and development. It can lead to hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) and even Cerebral Palsy.
- Traumatic birth injuries – Excessive force as the baby comes out of the mother can cause outcomes similar to birth asphyxia. It is usually due to abnormal fetal presentation, cephalopelvic disproportion (CPD), macrosomia, misuse of forceps and vacuum extractor, and shoulder dystocia.
- Infections – Different infections may be acquired in utero (while in the womb) or after birth. These include group B streptococcus, herpes encephalitis, neonatal meningitis and sepsis.
Genetic and Chromosomal
Family genetics can also be a factor for a child to have chromosomal disorders, which can result in developmental delays. These disorders are inheritable:
- Down Syndrome (Trisomy 21) – A child has an extra chromosome 21, where low muscle tone, unstable neck joints, and other physical manifestations can be observed. It can lead to delays in motor skills, cognitive abilities, and language.
- Fragile X Syndrome (FXS) – This congenital condition is a genetic mutation that affects a child’s ability to produce proteins.
These disorders are seen as the child grows and has difficulty reaching their expected milestones. They may need more assistance in learning and their daily life. Special education, occupational and speech therapy, Individualized Education Programs (IEP), Applied Behavioral Analysts (ABA) can help enhance their function and opportunities.
- Developmental Cognitive Disability/ Intellectual Disability – Children with intellectual disabilities often get diagnosed as they go to school and have difficulty with academic learning. Parents may also observe trouble learning concepts and problem solving with toys. Eventually, they may be unable to perform daily living activities independently.
- Developmental Motor Disability – Delayed motor skills can be caused by conditions such as Cerebral Palsy, Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD), Rett’s Syndrome, etc. Damage can be along the brain to the muscles itself. It can cause mild to severe motor impairments. The child may also have difficulty achieving certain motor milestones such as reaching for toys, sitting up, crawling, walking, running and jumping.
- Attention-Deficit Disorder (ADD) and Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) – Characterized by short attention span, hyperactivity or impulsivity, children with this diagnosis may have difficulty learning the skills they need to achieve their milestones. Medication and therapy can help to improve their function at home, school, leisure, work, and in the community.
- Learning Disability – Learning disabilities may manifest in the form of dyslexia (difficulty reading), dyscalculia or acalculia (difficulty with numbers), dysgraphia (difficulty writing), and dyspraxia (difficulty planning movements).
- Microcephaly – This means that a child has a smaller brain than normal. Different hemispheres of the brain are small or absent, therefore limiting the child’s abilities.
Developmental Disabilities Can Be Due to Birth Injury. Contact a Birth Injury Lawyer in Michigan to Discuss Your Options.
Growing up has a lot of challenges on its own. How much more difficult would it be if the child can’t keep up with their peers? If your child has birth injuries, genetic abnormalities, or any form of developmental delays in movement, cognition, social interaction, speech, and language, you can only imagine how difficult it can get for them.
It could require a lifetime of rehabilitative therapies and specialized education so that they can learn and explore. Some may even need extra medical tests and procedures to improve their quality of life. All in all, it can be financially and emotionally draining.
With our expert birth injury lawyers at The Clark Law Office, we can help you seek compensation from the negligent party that caused a child’s birth injury. Contact your trusted Michigan birth injury attorneys to find out how you can fight for your compensation.