Developmental Delays occur when a child fails to meet certain developmental milestones before age three. Often, these children need early intervention educational services to prepare him or her to be “caught up” to children of a similar age in time for school. When pregnant mothers take SSRI antidepressants, they may be more likely to have a child experience developmental delays and many other birth defects. Many of these mothers are now seeking legal action against the drug-makers.
Do I Have a Developmental Delay Lawsuit? Collen A. Clark is a true advocate for his clients and is passionate about helping Texans that have been injured or wronged. If you or a loved one has given birth to a child with a birth defect after taking an SSRI, antidepressant, or other medication during pregnancy, you should contact our lawyers immediately. You may be entitled to compensation by filing a Developmental Delay lawsuit.
Developmental Delay Overview
When you think of all the skills a child learns, you expect these skills to emerge naturally at certain times during a child’s development. Skills such as smiling, rolling over, responding to the caregiver, eating food, crawling, standing, and walking all occur within the first months of a child’s life. These milestones that are considered “normal” are defined very broadly, because every child acquires skills at his or her own pace. When these skills don’t occur “on schedule,” parents may become concerned that their child has a developmental delay.
At least 8% of children have some sort of developmental delay. This condition is not the same at an intellectual disability, because children will grow out of a developmental delay, whereas an intellectual disability is permanent. Infants who had medical problems at birth are far more likely to have delays than other children.
There is a difference between “global developmental delay” and specific delays. Global developmental delays may be a sign that the child has an intellectual disability. Specific delays, such as speech delay or motor delay, are far more readily treatable with targeted intervention. Often, parents are concerned about delays in fine motor development, because a child needs to be able to hold a pencil to learn how to write. If the child cannot hold a pencil, he or she might lag behind other children in the classroom. Specific education programs can help a child develop these skills.
Most pediatricians will tell the parent not to worry and to give the child more time to develop. Sometimes children have quick bursts of development rather than slow, steady growth. The pediatrician may also recommend that the child undergo a developmental evaluation to look at five developmental areas:
The five main areas of development are:
- Physical development (motor coordination)
- Cognitive development (intellectual abilities)
- Communication development (talking)
- Social or emotional development
- Adaptive development (self-care skills)
If the child is significantly deficient in any one area, the pediatrician may decide that the child needs early intervention services to assist the child and help him or her develop the skills he or she is lacking.
Most states actually have a system designed to identify children under the age of three with developmental delays, typically provided free or charge or on a sliding payment scale determined by the family’s income. These children are given special education services that prepare him or her for school.
Medications linked to Developmental Delay
SSRIs / Antidepressant Drugs: These medications can cause a wide range of birth defects.
- Paxil, Seroxat (paroxetine)
- Zoloft, Lustral (sertraline)
- Celexa (citalopram)
- Lexapro, Cipralex (escitalopram)
- Symbyax (fluxetine and olanzapine)
- Wellbutrin, Zyban (bupropion)
- Effexor (vanlafaxine)
Signs & Symptoms of Developmental Delay
- Does not pay attention or stay focused on an activity as long as children of a similar age
- Focuses on unusual objects for long periods of time
- Poor eye contact
- Gets frustrated more easily than other children
- More aggressive or stubborn than other children
- Violent on a daily basis
- Stares into space, rocks boy, talks to self
- Does not respond to affection from caregiver
Motor Coordination Delays
- Abnormally stiff or floppy arms or legs
- Uses one side of the body instead of both
- Rubs eyes frequently
- Cannot find small objects on the floor at age one
- One or both eyes appear abnormally large, small, or oddly colored
- Poor eye contact
- Poor ability to focus on and follow moving objects
- Talks very loud or very quietly
- Does not respond when called to from across the room
- Has difficulty following directions after 3 years of age
- Doesn’t startle to loud noises
- Ears are small or deformed
Treatment & Prognosis
Many times, developmental delays can be overcome through a combination of treatment therapies. It is important to remember that each child is unique and develops at their own pace. Early intervention services include speech and language therapy, occupational therapy, and physical therapy. Over time, these therapies prepare a child to enter school. Generally, children with developmental delays lead independent, productive lives as adults.
Do I Have a Developmental Delay Lawsuit?
Collen A. Clark is a true advocate for his clients and is passionate about helping Texans that have been injured or wronged.
Collen’s amazing success in the courtroom and well known dedication to his clients has earned him the recognition of his peers as one of The Top Trial Lawyers in Texas.”
The Clark Firm has assembled a team of trial lawyers with more than 100 years experience, participation in over 600 jury trials and $60 million in verdicts and/or settlements. Please use the form below to contact us for a free Developmental Delay lawsuit review.