A lack of oxygen during birth can cause developmental delays in children who experienced birth asphyxia. These children may have developmental delays, lasting developmental disabilities, or other serious concerns related to the oxygen deprivation they experienced during delivery.
Developmental delays and disabilities require early intervention, therapy, and additional support. They may impact the child’s cognitive and social growth and development in many ways, including affecting their ability to learn, make friends, speak and communicate, behave, and more.
In some cases, developmental delays also affect a child’s physical abilities, such as the development of gross or fine motor skills, low vision, or hearing loss.
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Developmental Delays And Disabilities Are Common
Developmental disabilities are common, and not only among children who experienced birth asphyxiation. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that about one in six children between ages three and 17 have a diagnosed developmental delay or disability. The effects, permanence, and other factors of these disabilities can vary widely. Some common examples include:
- Cerebral palsy
- Learning disabilities
- Intellectual delays
- Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
- Autism spectrum disorder
- Vision or hearing impairment
It often takes several years or longer before a child’s developmental disability becomes apparent. Some children receive a diagnosis after missing motor milestones as a baby or toddler, but others do not show up until the child reaches preschool or kindergarten.
If you have a concern that your child is missing developmental milestones or struggling to keep up with their peers, you should speak to a trusted doctor about your concerns. Your doctor should conduct developmental monitoring and schedule a special evaluation known as a developmental screening if there may be a problem. When a developmental screening shows a problem, the doctor can diagnose the delay. This paves the way for intervention and treatment.
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Therapies and Interventions Can Help Children Overcome Delays
While a lack of oxygen during birth can cause developmental delays, there are options for helping your child learn to overcome their delay or adapt to their disability as much as possible. Depending on their specific developmental delay or disability and the related concerns, their treatment plan could include:
- Early intervention for toddler and preschool-aged children who have specific special needs
- Behavioral therapy to address any behavioral issues, with or without the use of prescription medications
- Occupational therapy to help the child learn self-care, independent living, and everyday tasks as well as address sensory processing disorders
- Physical therapy to improve strength and range of motion, gain gross motor skills, and help balance and posture
- Speech and language therapy to help children speak clearly, understand language, swallow and eat, and use alternative communication methods
Your child’s doctor will develop a plan to address their developmental delay or disability. The earlier you can enroll your child in early intervention or get started with medications and other treatments, the better. Children can often begin kindergarten on time with their peers with the proper treatment plan in place. Some will integrate into the normal classroom with few concerns, while others may require special education or an Individualized Education Program (IEP).
Your Child’s Developmental Delays Could Support Legal Action Against the Doctor or Hospital
If your child suffered birth asphyxia and now has a developmental delay or disability, you may want to discuss your legal case with an attorney who accepts birth injury cases in your area. They can evaluate the specific details of your child’s delivery and disability. They can also determine if you have a viable medical malpractice birth injury claim.
A medical malpractice birth injury lawyer in your state will be able to take steps to prove your case, assign liability, negotiate a settlement, or take your case to court. Most represent birth injury malpractice victims based on contingency. This means that your lawyer will only get paid if they settle your case.
If you have a viable case against the doctor or hospital for medical negligence, your birth injury lawyer can enlist the help of a medical expert who will review your child’s records and confirm malpractice occurred. Based on this evidence, you may be able to seek compensation for losses that include:
- Current and future medical care costs
- The time you missed at work because of your child’s injuries
- Expenses related to early intervention and therapies
- Out-of-pocket expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Other intangible losses
- Ongoing care costs
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Speak to a Member of Our Team About Your Child’s Diagnosis Today
At the Birth Injury Lawyers Group, we provide complimentary case evaluations and consultations to families of children who experienced birth asphyxia and now have a developmental delay or disability. Get help today by calling (800) 222-9529.