Some symptoms of developmental delays occur earlier than others, and some are more severe. In general, a developmental delay is evident if your child is not reaching their developmental milestones on time. Minor delays are common, so it would only be an issue if there is an ongoing, serious delay that affects their everyday life. The initial symptoms could include:
- Delays in rolling over, sitting up, crawling, walking, or other movements
- Difficulty with age-appropriate head and neck control
- Difficulty with swallowing, making sounds, or speaking
- Unusual muscle stiffness, limpness, or other issues, often obvious in posture
- Muscle spasms
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers charts indicating information parents should know about milestones they can expect at 10 different age groups from two months to five years old. If your child fails to meet expected milestones, a doctor may observe them and possibly run tests to determine if they are experiencing a true developmental delay. Developmental delays may affect gross or fine motor skills, speech and language skills, social skills, or intellectual abilities.
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Developmental Delays May Affect More Than One Skill Set
Some symptoms of developmental delays indicate a more serious concern, such as a developmental disability. Developmental disabilities are more severe than simple delays. They may lead to life-long concerns for the child, although the individual effects may change as the child grows and develops. What is a significant concern at age three may not have an impact at age ten or 18, but there may be other related concerns.
Developmental disabilities or global delays can affect a child physically, intellectually, and socially. If they have a condition that causes their developmental concerns, they may also have other health risks. For example, children with cerebral palsy may struggle with movement and speech because of their lack of muscle control. At the same time, they may have intellectual or learning disabilities and many children living with cerebral palsy also have epilepsy or autism. According to a 2017 study published by the National Centers for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), cerebral palsy is the most common motor disability, as it appears in up to four out of every 1,000 live births.
Any or all of these concerns may affect your child’s everyday life, from the initial diagnosis through adulthood.
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Treatments for Developmental Delays Generally Focus on the Symptoms
In most cases, there is no cure for a developmental delay. Instead, treatments focus on therapy to help the child live with, adapt to, and overcome the symptoms of their condition. These treatments may include:
- Physical therapy
- Speech and language therapy
- Occupational therapy
- Psychological counseling
- Early intervention programs
- Special education classes
- Individualized education plans (IEP)
In some cases, children who have significant developmental delays can learn tactics, gain strength, and adapt to living with their delays. This may not be a cure, but rather a treatment that allows the child to catch up with their peers and keep up with them once they reach schooling age. If you find some symptoms of developmental delays with your child, contact a medical professional.
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You May Be Entitled to Compensation for Your Child’s Diagnosis and Treatment
Many children with developmental delays or disabilities have suffered from birth injuries or preventable brain damage during gestation, labor, or delivery. If there is evidence in your child’s medical records to show negligence or malpractice occurred, you may have a valid case against the doctor, another medical care provider, or the hospital or clinic.
You can file a claim based on medical malpractice laws and the statute of limitations they allow. Each state has its own statute of limitations and may have its own rules allowing you to toll the statute of limitations for birth injury cases, so it is best to speak with a lawyer familiar with the laws in your state.
With help from an attorney and medical expert witness, you may be entitled to compensation including:
- The cost of your child’s medical care
- Therapy, treatment, and related costs
- Ongoing support and care costs
- Out-of-pocket expenses
- Pain and suffering damages
- Mental anguish
Most birth injury lawyers work on a contingency-fee-basis. They can review the facts of your child’s case and will not charge you a retainer for their services. You only pay them if you recover a settlement in your case.
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Discuss Your Case for Free
You can start the process with help from the team at the Birth Injury Lawyers Group. We offer free case reviews, so you can learn more about the rules that apply to medical malpractice cases in your state. Our team can investigate the circumstances around your child’s diagnosis.
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