About Mental Retardation / Intellectual Disability

Mental retardation is the medical term for people who have lower than normal brain function.  Like other developmental delays, a parent’s first indication that something is wrong is when the child misses typical milestones, such as sitting up, crawling, walking and talking.  Mental retardation is a specific diagnosis, whereas “developmental delay” is a catch-all description for children who, typically because they are very young, do not have a final diagnosis.  Many health care providers now use the term “intellectual disability.”  About 3% of all children in the United States have a form of mental retardation.
As the child grows and develops, mental retardation injuries can manifest as mild, moderate or severe.  To varying degrees, a person with mental retardation may have difficult with memory, social skills, and self-care skills.

Mental Retardation Causes

Mental retardation injuries can be caused a number of factors, including:

    • Genetic disorder
      • Developmental problems while in the womb
        • Birth trauma during labor and delivery

        In birth trauma cases, mental retardation is typically caused by a lack of oxygen or blood to the baby during labor and delivery. Obstetricians and nurses must carefully monitor the condition of the baby to make sure that she can withstand the stresses of labor.  Using electronic fetal monitoring, the health care providers can get a real-time assessment of the baby’s heart rate.  If the monitoring reveals problems, doctors may need to perform a cesarean section to save the baby’s life and protect her health.

        Contact Us

        If your child is having difficulty meeting milestones, or has been diagnosed with mental retardation or other disabilities, contact our birth injury lawyers at (855) 712-7818 or fill out our online contact form.  We can examine your child’s medical records and determine whether your doctors should have done more to protect your baby’s health.

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        Photo by http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Newborn.JPG; attribution:  Spikebrennan