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Birth Injuries & Developmental Delay

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One of the results of an injury during birth is developmental delay. As the child grows up, you may notice that they are reaching the normal milestones later than is typical. This could be physical growth, emotional growth, or mental growth and the delays are significant and not just slightly behind other children. Some key areas to be aware of in regards to developmental delay are: motor skills, social skills, thinking, speech, and vision. A child may shows signs of a delay in one of these areas or in several of these areas. When the child is showing signs of delay in every single area, then it is referred to as global developmental delay. Global developmental delay can be caused by defects like Down syndrome, fragile X syndrome, fetal alcohol syndrome, or a serious illness or disorder which affected the baby after birth.

Speech & Language

Every baby develops at their own pace. There are certain warning signs, however, to be aware of when it comes to problems with speech. If by four months of age, the baby is not responding to loud noises or does not make any noises, this is an indication that something may be wrong. Children who do not respond to any sounds by the age of seven months should visit a doctor. By one year old, the child should be able to say some words, such as mama or dada. By two years old, if they cannot say at least 15 words or cannot communicate what they need, this could be a sign of developmental delay.

What causes speech and language delays? In some cases, it is not a birth injury but due to the fact that they were exposed to more than one language. In other cases, it is due to a disorder like a learning disability, dysarthria, problems with hearing, or a form of autism. By contacting a speech-language pathologist, they can seek to determine what is causing the delay and how to treat it.


Most babies will have blurry vision until they are six months old. If there are issues with their vision after this age, this could be pointing to a vision delay. Some warning signs to be aware of include both eyes turning in or out constantly. The baby may also have drainage from their eyes or be sensitive to light. They can be tested by seeing if they can follow objects one foot away with their eyes. Although a baby’s vision is not completely normal until they are six months old, issues could be apparent as early as three months. If they do not notice their own eyes, always have crossed eyes, or cannot follow moving objects, this could be a problem.

What causes these vision problems? One possible explanation is that the child is suffering from a lazy eye (amblyopia). Another possible problem could be that the child has cataracts. Although these are more common with old age, infants can also inherit this condition. An eye disease known as retinopathy of prematurity could also cause the child to experience problems with vision. In order to treat these problems, the child may need to wear an eye patch, special glasses, or even undergo surgery. Doctors need to be vigilant in diagnosing vision problems so that they do not worsen and lead to permanent damage.


Brain injuries, genetic defects, or medical issues could result in cognitive delays in infants. How can parents detect if their child has issues with thinking? Unlike the other areas of developmental delays, it is difficult to detect any problems until the child is one year old. If by one, they are not pointing at objects, making gestures like waving or clapping, or do not attempt to search for objects which they see being hidden, this could point to a problem. By two years old, there will be different warning signs. For example, they will not be able to follow any instructions or be able to imitate others. They may also be unable to understand what simple objects function as, such as a spoon or a toothbrush.

Whether the child is suffering from Down syndrome, a severe medical problem, or another disorder, it is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible. As in any of these types of developmental delay, medical malpractice could be a major cause of the problem. If a doctor was negligent in the diagnosis or treatment of a child, they need to be held responsible for any of the consequences. For more information on birth injuries or medical malpractice, please get in touch with a reputable New York medical malpractice lawyer or a birth injury lawyer from our office! Call us today at , or visit our Contact Us page.

The Law Offices of Joseph Lichtenstein serves clients from across New York City including the areas of the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, and Long Island. We also cater to prospective clients in the areas of Westchester, Nassau County, and Suffolk County.