Some types of developmental disabilities can include speech impairments, muscle impairments, and intellectual delays. Doctors group developmental disabilities into four categories, which include physical, learning, language, and behavior. Developmental disabilities can happen to anyone and occur mostly in the early childhood years. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 17% of children between the ages of 3 and 17 have a developmental disability.
Developmental disabilities can occur for a number of reasons, including birthing, prenatal, or postnatal issues. Sometimes they can be unavoidable, such as when the child inherits a genetic trait. On the other hand, there are many instances in which a doctor could have prevented a developmental disability, like in the event of a birth injury due to medical malpractice.
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Developmental Disability Categories
Examples of physical developmental disabilities in a child can include:
- A difficulty with holding up his or her head within a few months of age.
- Partial paralysis.
- A difficulty with grasping objects.
- A difficulty with reaching for objects.
- An inability to support weight on his or her legs.
Examples of developmental disabilities in learning in a child can include:
- Difficulty focusing or concentrating.
- Reversing letters, words, or numbers.
- A lack of curiosity.
- An inability to decipher colors.
Examples of developmental disabilities with language in a child can include the following:
- Does not babble by nine months of age
- Not saying his or her first words by age 1
- Lack of gestures, such as pointing, waving, nodding
- Skipping imitation period
- Not following simple instructions
Examples of developmental disabilities with behavior in a child can include:
- Lack of emotional expression.
- Not engaging with others, especially peers.
- Difficulty sharing.
- Preference to play alone.
- Lack of empathy.
Many developmental disabilities require treatment to help the child progress. If a disability does not have a treatment, there may be a way to manage it. The key to addressing a developmental disability is finding and treating it early.
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Seeking Help and Support for Developmental Disabilities
If you believe your child has a developmental disability, it is important to get help as soon as possible. The sooner you are able to get treatment for your child, the better the outcome may be. This is especially true for children under 3 years old, because their brains are more adaptable.
Developmental disabilities can be mild, moderate, or severe. Be mindful that some diagnoses of developmental disabilities can start off mild or moderate and become severe. Committing to a proper treatment plan early on may be able to prevent a critical outcome.
Your doctor may perform several exams and tests on your child to document the symptoms and determine the cause. This can include a physical exam or a hearing test, or more intense assessments like X-rays or MRIs.
Once your child’s doctor makes a diagnosis is made, you can discuss treatment and management plans. Your child’s treatment or management plan will depend on the type of disability and its severity. Treatments available for developmental disabilities can include:
- Physical therapy.
- Speech therapy.
- Massage therapy.
- Oral medications.
- Injectable medications.
Treatment and management plans for developmental disabilities are not one size fits all. Your child may take to a particular treatment or exercise, whereas a child with the same condition may not.
Even with simple cases of developmental disabilities, it can be a challenging and emotional road ahead. It can be helpful for you and your family to be proactive in your child’s condition and their progress. Family interactions and resources are essential to the effectiveness of early intervention. Joining support groups can be a great way to learn new ways to help your child from other parents.
What to Do If a Birth Injury Causes Developmental Disabilities
Some types of development disabilities happen because of a birth injury. A birth injury can occur during your pregnancy, during the birthing process, or after birth. Sometimes this is unavoidable. Other times, a birth injury can occur because of a doctor’s negligence, failing to provide a standard duty of care.
If you believe this is the case in your child’s situation, you may be eligible for compensation. Schedule an appointment with the Birth Injury Lawyers Group to have a member of our team review your case and determine your legal rights: (800) 222-9529.