Cognitive Developmental Disabilities Due to Birth Injuries

1. What are the various kinds of cognitive developmental disabilities attributed to birth injuries?

The various kinds of mental disabilities attributed to birth injuries differ in degrees and can sometimes take years (even decades) to be properly diagnosed. A few of the more mild cognitive, developmental disabilities include problems with fine motor skills, delayed language development, and during school, delays in learning basic math and reading skills

More serious cognitive developmental disabilities include attention deficit disorder (ADD), attention deficit hyper disorder (ADHD),  Asperger’s syndrome, and autism. While society sometimes tells us that these disabilities are often natural or adaptive behaviors, several studies suggest that many instances of these disorders can be attributed to birth injuries.

2. How are these cognitive disabilities related to birth injuries?

Experts speculate that ADD and ADHD are connected to the trauma of the brain at a young age. In fact, recent studies show connections between ADD and ADHD and long, difficult labors. After all, the human brain is built to withstand compression to a point, but a labor that lasts longer than 18 hours places an unnatural stress on the brain.

 Other cognitive disabilities such as autism and Asperger’s Syndrome also reflect at least a short period of oxygen deprivation at birth, causing trauma in the brain from an emergency reaction.

3. What types of birth injuries cause cognitive developmental disabilities?

Social anxiety and problems with fine motor skills are often attributed to hypoxia, anoxia, perinatal asphyxia, or birth asphyxia; these are considered a milder form of the cognitive and developmental disabilities, so the infant may have been deprived of oxygen for a minute or less.

 More serious cognitive disabilities such as ADD or ADHD have been, in some instances, associated with oxygen loss for over a minute, as well as a vacuum extraction or forceps injury, which puts too much pressure on the brain.

The most severe of these developmental disabilities are autism and Asperger’s Syndrome, and both have been associated with oxygen deprivation, including hypoxia, anoxia, birth asphyxia, and perinatal asphyxia.

However, since these cognitive disabilities are more severe on the scale of brain-related birth injuries, children with these disorders may have also experienced brain trauma in other ways, such as skull fractures due to vacuum extraction or forceps delivery, cephalohematoma (bleeding of the brain between the brain and the skin), or they could have been victim to blunt force trauma to the head, causing skull fractures and/or cephalohematoma.

In addition, there could have been a emergency reaction in the brain that reordered the cognitive pathways.

4. Is cerebral palsy cognitive issues caused by birth injuries?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), cerebral palsy is the most common type of motor disability, affecting around 500,000 people. Along with movement and muscle limitations, cerebral palsy has also been associated with cognitive developmental disabilities, ranging from mild to severe.

Although in several instances the cause of cerebral palsy is not known, many children with the disorder also experienced birth injuries that led to oxygen deprivation. Along with cognitive disabilities, people with cerebral palsy may also exhibit behavioral and emotional disorders.  The common types of cognitive, behavioral, and emotional disabilities associated with cerebral palsy include:

  • Learning disabilities
  • Poor decision-making skills
  • Impulsiveness
  • Inappropriate outbursts
  • Speech and communication problems

It’s important to note, however, that although cognitive problems are associated with cerebral palsy, many children with the disorder are highly intelligent and can go on to lead normal, productive lives as adults.