Excessive drooling is a sign of autism in some cases, although this is a much more recognizable concern in older children. Drooling can be a sign of:
- Low muscle tone or a structural issue.
- Difficulty or unwillingness to swallow saliva.
- A problem that causes excess saliva production.
When it comes to children with autism, several factors related to sensory input, neurological concerns, and attention deficits can combine to lead to excessive drooling. While neurotypical children begin to learn to seal their mouth and swallow between one and a half and two years old, children who are behind developmentally may not learn these skills at this age. In other cases, issues with muscle control may not allow it.
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Signs of Autism in Older Babies and Toddlers
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is one of the most common developmental diagnoses today. About 1 in 54 children receive an ASD diagnosis, according to estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). While excessive drooling can be a symptom of ASD, there are usually other indications. In older babies and toddlers, this may include:
- Avoiding eye contact.
- Seeming not to care about watching people.
- Failing to respond to their name.
- Repetitive motions, such as arm flapping.
- Unusual play habits, such as sorting and lining up their toys.
- Missing developmental milestones.
If you have concerns about your child’s development and wonder if it could be due to ASD, mention it to a trusted pediatrician. You can request a screening to determine if your child is behind in meeting developmental milestones. This may be the first step in an autism diagnosis, or it could suggest that the excessive drooling has some other cause.
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Other Causes of Excessive Drooling
While excessive drooling is a sign of autism, drooling in young babies is more likely to point toward another cause. Generally, symptoms of autism do not begin until a baby is at least a year old.
Excessive drooling often occurs as the result of teething, although this may not be the case with infants. Other conditions that can lead to excessive drooling may include neurological issues or injuries that develop from a birth injury. This may include the following:
Brain damage during pregnancy, delivery, or shortly after birth can lead to this neurological disorder and cause a wide range of symptoms. Due to the area of the brain involved, cerebral palsy often affects muscle control and coordination. This includes the muscles of the mouth and throat, making it difficult to close the mouth and swallow excess saliva.
Facial palsies, such as Bell’s palsy, occur because of nerve damage on one side of the face. Babies with this condition will likely have one side of the face that droops. They could be unable to move the affected side of the face, leading to excessive drooling and dry eye.
A stroke or hemorrhage shortly before or after birth can lead to issues with paralyzed muscles, muscle control, or muscle coordination. If a child suffered injuries to the areas of the brain that control the muscles of the mouth and throat, it may make it difficult to swallow saliva.
Excessive Drooling as a Sign of a Preventable Birth Injury
In some cases, the condition your child suffers from that causes excessive drooling may have resulted from a birth injury. Your doctor may have committed an act of medical negligence during your pregnancy or delivery that caused this condition.
If you or your birth injury attorney can prove that your child’s condition occurred because of medical malpractice, you may be able to hold the doctor or medical facility responsible. You could recover compensation to help pay for your child’s care, treatment, and pain and suffering.
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When you call the Birth Injury Lawyers Group, you can speak to a member of our team today about a free case review and consultation. We can discuss your child’s diagnosis and birth injury that may have occurred due to medical malpractice.
If we are able to take your case, we can pursue compensation on behalf of you and your child. Dial (800) 222-9529 now to get started right away.