Developmental Delays and Birth Injuries in Georgia
Whenever a family welcomes a new baby, one of the biggest joys in the parents' lives is watching their child grow up. Of course, every child develops at his or her own pace, and delays in some areas are to be expected. Every year, though, some Georgia families notice that something is wrong. Their children keep falling behind their peers in critical areas. And they're not catching up. These developmental delays may be a sign of a serious birth injury.
What is a developmental delay?
As children grow, they hit certain milestones, such as taking their first steps or saying their first words. Again, every child is different. Some are early walkers. Some take their time. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has a list of important developmental milestones that parents can use to follow their children's development, beginning at six weeks and continuing through five years and beyond.
A child is said to have a developmental delay if he or she reaches a certain age without hitting particular milestones. For example, a child who is 18 months old should be able to walk unassisted, mimic others and know at least six words.
Certain developmental problems can also cause children to regress or lose skills they once had. Again, human development is a messy process, and it's not unusual for a child to take "two steps forward, one step back" in some developmental areas. However, sustained regression in multiple areas is a cause for concern.
Recognizing and responding to developmental delays
In addition to checking the CDC's list, keep an eye on your child when he or she is around other children around the same age. In a group of children, it's normal for some to be a little ahead and some to be a little behind. If your child is well behind the pack in one area or another, though, that's a red flag.
Make sure your child is getting regular checkups with a pediatrician. And make sure you talk to your doctor about your concerns. Pediatricians are trained to monitor your child's development and ask questions that can shed light on any delays. If your pediatrician seems dismissive or gives unsatisfactory answers, get a second medical opinion. Early intervention is important, and you need to be your child's advocate if anything seems off.
Developmental delays are sometimes indicative of a permanent birth injury, such as cerebral palsy. Unfortunately, many of these health problems are preventable, and negligent medical professionals cause them by making errors in prenatal care, labor and delivery, or neonatal care. A Georgia attorney can help you find out what happened and break down your family's legal options in a free consultation.