Developmental & Intellectual Disability Lawyers Discuss Cognitive Impairments & Learning Disabilities

Intellectual disabilities are persistent cognitive disabilities that reduce a person’s intellectual capacity. Intellectual disabilities mean that a child has a below-average IQ and lacks the skills for the activities of daily living. Support programs for the intellectually disabled help to increase independence, but this population typically requires supportive services throughout adulthood. Developmental disabilities are an umbrella term for disability that occurs before age 22 that are expected to be lifelong. The term encompasses both physical and intellectual disabilities. These are severe, chronic mental or mental and physical disabilities that substantially limit the ability to care for oneself, communicate, learn, live independently or be economically self-sufficient.


What Are Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (I/DD)?

Intellectual and developmental disabilities occur when an individual lacks cognitive abilities as a result of a brain injury, disease, or genetics. An individual diagnosed with intellectual and developmental disabilities may have a low IQ, as well as limited communication and social skills, and be unable to take care of him or herself.

As the child develops, he or she may learn at a slower rate than other children and have a limited ability to learn new things. Some indications of intellectual and developmental disabilities include learning to walk or crawl later than most children, speech problems, difficulty remembering things, and difficulty with logic or problem solving.

Global developmental delay is the term applied to a child under five years of age who fails to meet expected developmental milestones and has significant impairments in multiple areas of intellectual functioning.

Those with intellectual and developmental disabilities are typically born with this condition or develop it in infancy, but the results may not be noticeable until years later. The individuals who develop this disorder usually do so as the result of a traumatic head injury or lack of oxygen at birth (hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy). Such errors are often the result of a negligent physician or medical staff.

Causes of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

Fetal brain hemorrhage, intracranial hemorrhage, neonatal brain damage

Neonatal brain injuries, such as intraventricular hemorrhages, can cause intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD).

Intellectual and developmental disabilities can result from several factors, including genetics, complications during pregnancy, or a birth injury. Genetic conditions such as the inheritance of abnormal genes or errors when genes combine can result in Down syndrome, fragile X syndrome, or phenylketonuria (PKU). Similarly, if the mother has a serious infection or disease during her pregnancy, this may cause birth defects in the developing fetus. While genetic conditions and disease may be unavoidable, intellectual and developmental disabilities resulting from a birth injury can often be prevented.

Our Michigan birth injury attorneys represent clients with intellectual and developmental disabilities resulting from a preventable birth injury. Common birth injuries that can cause intellectual and developmental disabilities include:

Such birth injuries are typically caused by negligence on the part of the attending physician or members of the medical staff. If you suspect that your child suffers from intellectual and developmental disabilities as a result of pediatric medical malpractice, our attorneys at Reiter & Walsh, P.C. can help. Even if years have passed since the injuries occurred, our attorneys are usually able to build a case.


Legal Help for Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities from Birth Injury

Legal Help for Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities from Birth InjuryWhen an infant sustains a birth injury that results in intellectual and developmental disabilities (sometimes referred to as I/DD or intellectual impairments), the family may face lifelong challenges to provide constant care for that child. In some cases, the condition is noticeable almost immediately after birth, but other times, it may not be realized for years. If medical malpractice or negligence played a role in causing your child’s condition, you may be entitled to compensation.

At Reiter & Walsh, P.C., our pediatric medical malpractice attorneys can provide optimal legal representation for those with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families. From our main office’s location in Detroit, Michigan, we handle cases involving birth trauma, pregnancy, and newborn injuries throughout the country. We’ve assisted families in Michigan, Ohio, Tennessee, Texas, Wisconsin, Arkansas, Mississippi, Pennsylvania and other areas in the country, including Washington, D.C. Our legal team is also experienced in handling birth injury cases involving military hospitals and federally funded clinics.

Contact our team today to learn more about your loved one’s birth injury. You may reach us in any of the following ways:

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Video: Intellectual Disability Lawyers Discuss Birth Asphyxia (HIE), Brain Damage, and Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (I/DD)

video - intellectual disability attorneys discuss developmental disabilities

In this video, intellectual disability attorneys Jesse Reiter & Rebecca Walsh discuss how birth asphyxia can cause brain damage and problems such as intellectual and developmental disabilities.


Sources:

  • C.M.T. Robertson, N.N. Finer, M.G.A. Grace. School performance of survivors of neonatal encephalopathy associated with birth asphyxia at term. The Journal of Pediatrics. 1989; 114(5) 753-760.
  • Kerstjens JM, Bocca-Tjeertes IF, deWinter AF, Reijneveld SA, Boss AF. Neonatal Morbidities and Developmental delay in Moderately Preterm-Born Children. Pediatrics. 2012; 130(2) 265-272.
  • Pin TW, Eldridge B, Galea MP. A review of developmental outcomes of term infants with post-asphyxia neonatal encephalopathy. European journal of paediatric neurology. 2009; 13(3) 224-234.
  • Harris JC. The classification of intellectual disability. In: Intellectual disability: Understanding its development, causes, classification, evaluation, and treatment, Oxford University Press, New York 2006. p.42.
  • McDonald L, Rennie A, Tolmie J, et al. Investigation of global developmental delay. Arch Dis Child 2006; 91:701.