Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (I/DDs)

Intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DDs) are persistent cognitive impairments that result from brain injuries, diseases, or genetic causes. People with intellectual and developmental disabilities have below-average IQs, may lack certain skills needed for the activities of daily living, and may struggle in traditional educational environments. The severity of impairment varies widely. Some people with intellectual and developmental disabilities may lead largely independent lives (especially with the help of support programs), while others will require constant care.

Symptoms of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (I/DDs)

Children with intellectual and developmental disabilities may learn at a slower rate than other children, and have a limited ability to learn new things (they may require special education services). Moreover, cognitive impairments often co-occur with physical symptoms, such as the motor control issues associated with cerebral palsy. Children with intellectual and developmental disabilities may also have 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. Many children develop this disorder as the result of a traumatic head injury or lack of oxygen around the time of birth (hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy). Unfortunately, these problems often occur as the result of negligent medical professionals and organizations.

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 factors including genetics, diseases, and birth injuries that cause early brain damage. While genetic conditions and diseases 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 preventable birth injuries. Common birth injuries that can cause intellectual and developmental disabilities include:

Such birth injuries are often 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.

Legal Help for Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities from Birth Injury

When an infant sustains a birth injury that results in intellectual and developmental disabilities, the family may face lifelong challenges to provide 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.

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

Free Case Review | Available 24/7 | No Fee Until We Win

Phone (toll-free): 888-419-2229
Press the Live Chat button on your browser
Complete Our Online Contact Form


  • 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.