The age at which you can diagnose an intellectual disability depends on the severity of the disability. Some intellectual disabilities have effects that are immediately apparent within the first few months after birth, such as a delay in learning to roll over, crawl, or walk. Others take years to fully surface and may only become recognizable when the child begins school.
Doctors and medical professionals take several details into account in their analysis and diagnosis of intellectual disabilities. This may involve:
- Examining the child’s family history.
- Having the child complete neurological and psychological testing.
- Interviewing the child’s caregivers and teachers.
- Observing the child’s behavior, communication, and social interactions.
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Examining the Severity of Intellectual Disabilities
According to data shared by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), about 1% of children between 5 and 7 had ever received a diagnosis involving intellectual disability. Those with mild intellectual disabilities are usually able to develop the necessary skills to live their day-to-day lives.
Even in these cases, however, an early diagnosis can put fundamental treatment methods in place from the start. Without the proper knowledge regarding the specifics of an intellectual disability, it is all too easy for parents to find themselves without a course of action.
In severe intellectual disability cases, symptoms may be easier to detect within the first few years of a child’s life. Since severe intellectual disabilities require serious treatment and attention, early diagnosis is important.
There are various causes of intellectual disability, ranging from genetic inheritance to trauma during birth. As such, medical professionals will often use a complex series of assessments to evaluate the cause and severity of a child’s intellectual disability.
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The Dangers of Negligence and Incorrect Diagnoses
Negligence during the birthing process can cause the development of some intellectual disabilities. For example, if a doctor allows the baby to get stuck in the birth canal during labor, it can cause oxygen deprivation.
Lack of oxygen can affect the brain in several ways, potentially causing traumatic brain injury, seizures, or the development of intellectual disabilities. If a doctor or other medical professional bumps the newborn’s head during birth, this may stand out as a more blatant form of negligence. When negligence is present during the birth process, you may be eligible to receive compensation for your pain and suffering.
In some cases where intellectual disabilities are present, doctors and other medical professionals may fail to diagnose them or diagnose them incorrectly. According to Medline Plus, doctors only find a specific reason for a child’s intellectual disability in 25% of cases.
Prompt diagnosis will allow parents to seek the proper help that their child may need. However, if parents remain in the dark about the specifics of their child’s condition, it can cause more harm.
Intellectual Disabilities and Medical Malpractice
If you suspect that you experienced medical malpractice, negligence, or misdiagnosis of your child’s intellectual disability, you may be eligible to pursue financial compensation. However, it is important to remember that most states have a statute of limitations in place. This puts a restriction on the amount of time you have to take action through a lawsuit.
For example, many states set the statute of limitations for a medical malpractice case at two years from when you discovered the damage the medical professional caused. Special limitations may apply to cases involving minors.
Contact a Birth Injury Lawyer About Your Child’s Intellectual Disability
If you are wondering what age you can diagnose intellectual disability at, doctors and other medical professionals are responsible for providing you with these answers. Misdiagnosis of your child can qualify as negligence in some cases, as can the birth injury that potentially led to your child’s disability.
An incorrect or untimely diagnosis often complicates an intellectual disability, both for you as a parent, and for your child. It is not easy to live with the treatments and lifelong complications that come with intellectual disability. If you think an act of negligence or malpractice occurred that caused or worsened your child’s intellectual disability, you may qualify for compensation.
A lawyer who takes on these cases will work to establish any liable parties and go after eligible forms of compensation on your behalf. Reach out and call the Birth Injury Lawyers Group today at (800) 222-9529 for a free consultation.