Birth Injuries Can Lead to Cognitive and Developmental Disabilities
Learn more about the effects a birth injury can have on your child’s development
Birth injuries can affect babies in different ways and at varying levels of severity. Some birth injuries are primarily physical in nature, while others affect the brain and cognitive development capabilities. Cognitive development disability injuries are sometimes difficult to diagnose at the outset – they can take years to manifest as the child develops. Due to this delay, parents may not link certain indications of poor cognitive performance with a birth injury.
What are cognitive disabilities?
Also referred to as neurodevelopment disabilities, cognitive disabilities are learning disorders that hinder babies and children from developing and applying learning skills. Children who have these disabilities still have the potential to learn and acquire skills fitting for their age – they just need additional help to learn, and they may reach learning milestones later than normal.
Evidence a baby has a cognitive or intellectual disability
The stages of normal development in babies and children with cognitive disabilities are often delayed. For example, a child with a cognitive or intellectual disability may be unable to speak anything at the age of two – whereas a child without such a disability will normally be able to say at least a few words at that age.
Cognitive and intellectual disabilities often take some time to diagnose – even months or years. There are some signs to watch for in a toddler or child to determine if they may have one these disabilities. These include the inability or delayed ability to:
- Sit up
- Master potty training
- Feed oneself
- Dress oneself
- Remember things
- Connect actions the consequences
- Solve problems
- Think logically
Behavioral problems may also accompany cognitive and intellectual disabilities, such as temper tantrums.
However, simply because your child does not meet a milestone within the normal expected timeframe doesn’t automatically equate to your child having a particular cognitive impairment. Babies and small children acquire cognitive skills at different paces. With that said, it is important to let your doctor know if your child appears to be falling short of expected learning milestones.
Mild forms of cognitive and intellectual disabilities may be kept hidden from you as a parent until your child enters school and attempts to retain and learn information. If your child appears to be falling behind from the rest of the group, a child education specialist may be able to determine if your child’s learning ability is in the normal range, or if he or she may be hindered due to a birth injury-related cognitive disability and developmental delays.
Common cognitive developmental disabilities stemming from birth injuries
There are numerous forms of cognitive development disability that can arise from a birth injury. They range from mild to moderate to serious in their severity and symptoms.
Mild cognitive development disabilities stemming from birth injuries can include learning disabilities with reading and math, deficient fine motor skills, delayed speech and language development, and social anxiety.
Moderate to serious cognitive development disabilities arising from birth injuries can include autism, Asperger’s syndrome, attention deficit disorder (ADD), attention deficit hyper disorder (ADHD).
The link between birth injuries and cognitive developmental disabilities
Children who have difficulty performing fine motor skills, have social anxiety, or suffer from autism or Asperger’s syndrome may have suffered oxygen deprivation for a minute or less during birth. This oxygen deprivation may have occurred in one of various forms, including birth asphyxia, anoxia, hypoxia, or perinatal asphyxia.
It is thought by many in the medical community that trauma inflicted upon the brain during the birthing process (i.e. via a forceps or vacuum extraction injury) or at a young age can lead to the development of autism, ADD, ADHD, and sensory processing disorder. Long, arduous labors lasting more than 18 hours can also produce infant brain trauma. When the skull is compressed for a long period of time, an excessive amount of stress is inflicted upon the brain.
Brain traumas such is bleeding of the brain and skull fractures due to aggressive delivery intervention along with a lack of oxygen can precipitate cognitive development disabilities. A baby may also develop such disabilities when enough stress is imposed upon the infant during the delivery process, instigating a reaction in the brain that disturbs the cognitive pathways.
Cerebral palsy and cognitive development disabilities
Cerebral palsy is one of the most common types of motor disabilities. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1 in 345 children have been identified with cerebral palsy. In addition to the hindrances it causes to the muscles and their movements, cerebral palsy can also inflict varying levels of cognitive development disability, as well as emotional and behavioral disorders.
Although the cause of cerebral palsy is sometimes difficult to determine, some children who have the condition also suffered birth injuries that involved a lack of oxygen.
The cognitive development disabilities commonly experienced by those with cerebral palsy include:
- Communication and speech problems
- Impulsive behavior
- Learning disabilities
- Sudden, inappropriate outbursts
- Poor decision-making skills
As it concerns cerebral palsy however, it’s important to note that many children with this condition have higher than normal intelligence and are able to go on and lead productive lives as contributing members of society.
These are many of the injuries our clients’ children have sustained
Contact a seasoned cognitive development disability birth injury attorney
The medical malpractice lawyers at Crandall & Pera Law have extensive experience advocating on the behalf of families that have been injured due to medical malpractice involving birth injuries and more. If your baby has suffered a preventable medical error through negligence and has developed a cognitive or intellectual development disability, we are here to review your case and fight for your right to any and all compensation you are owed. To set up a free consultation with one of our experienced birth injury lawyers in Ohio or Kentucky, call us now at 877.955.0020 or complete our contact form.