60 W Randolph Street, Suite 400
Chicago, IL 60601


Are the Rates of Child Developmental Disabilities Rising in the U.S.?

Posted on in Birth Injury

Cook County birth injury attorney developmental disabilities

All parents are concerned about issues that may affect their children’s health, and one recent study highlights some troubling trends regarding developmental disabilities. Scientists from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) found that the rates of these types of disabilities among children increased between 2009 and 2017. Parents will not only want to be aware of the prevalence of these types of health concerns, but they should understand whether birth injuries may have led to disabilities that impact their children’s well-being.

Birth Injuries and Developmental Disabilities

During this study, researchers looked at parent-reported data from the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) to determine the percentage of children between the ages of 3 and 17 diagnosed with developmental disabilities. During the period of 2009-2011, this percentage was 16.2 percent, but the percentage increased to 17.8 percent in the period of 2015-2017. Additionally, the study found that boys were more likely than girls to be diagnosed with a developmental disability, and disabilities were more likely to affect children in rural areas and those with public health insurance than children in urban areas and those with private insurance.

The developmental disabilities covered in this study include cerebral palsy, hearing loss, intellectual disabilities, seizures, blindness, autism spectrum disorder, attention-deficit /hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), speech disorders, and other types of developmental delays. While some of these disabilities are caused by genetic issues, many of them can be caused by injuries that occur during birth. These include:

  • Asphyxia - A child may experience a lack of oxygen due to problems with the placenta or umbilical cord or complications during labor and delivery. This can lead to brain injuries and disorders such as cerebral palsy.

  • Skull fractures - Prolonged labor, trauma during delivery, or improper use of forceps or vacuum extractors can cause the bones in a child’s skull to break, which can lead to hemorrhaging of blood and permanent brain damage.

  • Premature birth - Children who are born before a pregnancy reaches full term or who have a low birth weight are at higher risk for developmental disabilities.

  • Infections - A viral or bacterial infection may be passed from a mother to her child during pregnancy or delivery, and certain types of infections can cause hearing loss, blindness, neurological damage, epilepsy, or other disorders.

  • Jaundice - When untreated, high levels of bilirubin can cause a form of brain damage known as kernicterus, which can lead to cerebral palsy, hearing loss, and vision problems.

Contact a Chicago Birth Injury Attorney

Because one out of every six children in the United States experiences developmental disabilities in some form, parents should be aware of any potential concerns that could affect their children’s health and development. If you believe that your child has a disability that was caused by injuries during birth, the Birth Injury Law Alliance can help you determine the steps you can take to receive financial help that will allow you to meet your child’s physical and emotional needs. To learn more about how we can help with your case, contact our reputable Illinois birth injury lawyers at 312-945-1300 to schedule your free consultation today. 





Back to Top