Can a Birth Injury Cause Developmental Disabilities?

As parents, we want nothing more than to see our children thrive and reach their full potential. However, sometimes concerns about a child's developmental progress arise, especially when the child had been previously diagnosed with a birth injury. A traumatic birth injury can change a child’s life forever by impacting their developmental abilities, so it is important for you to know more about what could be in your child’s future.

Understanding the Correlation

Research has shown a correlation between birth injuries and developmental disabilities. Studies have highlighted the impact that a lack of oxygen to the babies brain or trauma to the skull such as a skull fracture from misuse of foreceps have on the the development of a child. While these injuries may not be immediately seen until the child begins to grow they have been found to have significant relationships with developmental disabilities.

Additionally, hypoxia and asphyxia are associated with developmental disabilities. The relationship between birth injuries and conditions such as cerebral palsy and intellectual disabilities has been explored thoroughly by researchers as well. It appears that even a brief moment of oxygen deprivation during birth can be enough to permanently damage the child’s brain and hamper their development as they get older.

Types of Developmental Disabilities

One of the most commonly known developmental disabilities associated with birth injuries is Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy or HIE which is often associated with the diagnosis of cerebral palsy or CP. Cerebral palsy affects movement and muscle coordination, often resulting from brain damage during or shortly after birth. Children with cerebral palsy may experience difficulties with mobility, muscle control, and speech, which can limit what they can participate in and individually accomplish later in life. For example, certain career paths may be closed to a child with CP, such as one that demands rigorous physical labor.

Another type of birth injury that can cause developmental disabilities is Erb’s palsy. This type of birth injury damages nerves called the the Brachial Plexus and causes lasting damage to the nerves contolling the shoulder, and arm. Injuries to these nerves often results in the need for daily physical therapy and painful surgeries.

Diagnosis of Developmental Disabilities

If you suspect that your child may have a developmental disability due to a birth injury, it is essential to consult with a healthcare professional. Only a licensed and trained medical specialist can accurately diagnose the developmental disability symptoms that a child shows.

Doctors employ various methods to diagnose these disabilities, including:

  • Medical History: The doctor will gather information about the child's birth, any complications or injuries suffered during delivery, and other relevant medical histories.
  • Developmental Assessments: Developmental assessments are conducted to evaluate a child's motor skills, language abilities, social interactions, and overall development. These assessments may involve observing the child, conducting standardized tests, and using age-appropriate developmental milestones as benchmarks.
  • Imaging Techniques: In some cases, doctors may order imaging studies such as MRIs or CT scans to assess brain structure and identify any abnormalities or brain damage.

Seeking Help and Support

Discovering that your child has a developmental disability can be overwhelming, but it's important to remember that support and resources are available.

Parents with a child who has a developmental disability benefit from utilizing:

  • Early Intervention Programs: Early intervention programs specialize in providing services and therapies aimed at supporting the development of children with disabilities. These programs can help address specific developmental delays and provide strategies for parents to support their child's progress.
  • Medical Specialists: Pediatricians, neurologists, and other medical specialists experienced in developmental disabilities can offer guidance, monitor progress, and recommend further interventions or therapies as needed.
  • Support Networks: Connecting with support groups and networks can be invaluable for parents and caretakers. Sharing experiences and learning from others who have gone through similar situations can provide emotional support and practical advice.

Remember, each child's journey is unique, and the road to supporting their development may differ. By seeking professional help and accessing available resources, you can pave the way for your child's growth and ensure they receive the support they need to thrive.

Birth Injury Lawsuits for Developmental Disabilities

Birth injuries severely impact a child's developmental progress, especially when the birth injury affects their brain like HIE or cerebral palsy. Recognizing the correlation between birth injuries and developmental disabilities is the first step toward seeking proper diagnosis and support. Yet taking care of a child with developmental disabilities and getting them the right support can be prohibitively expensive. A birth injury lawsuit might be able to provide the child’s parents with the financial stability that they need to give the best possible help to their child.

Cullan & Cullan has four attorneys who are also doctors. We are nationally known as birth injury lawyers. If your child was in the NICU you should contact our respected birth injury attorneys as soon as possible to investigate the cause and to see if we can help your child and your family. contact our law office right away. You may be able to file a birth injury claim against the medical provider or medical institution that caused your child’s life-changing injury. Our attorney-doctors primarily handle cases in Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Arizona and select cases nationwide, so call (816) 253-8606 to see if we can help your family, too.


Get In Touch With Us Today

Based on the latest government precautions, our team has moved to working remotely. If you need to get in touch, we’re still here to answer your questions via phone and email.

    • Please enter your name.
    • +1
      This isn't a valid phone number.
    • Please enter your email address.
      This isn't a valid email address.
    • Please make a selection.
    • Please enter a message.