This past Saturday (May 14th) was Apraxia Awareness Day. This event seeks to help the public understand the effects of apraxia, as well as what may cause the condition. As birth injury attorneys, we would like to focus on how apraxia can relate to birth injuries.

When a child has a birth injury, it can result in numerous impairments ranging from cognitive and intellectual disabilities to physical disabilities like cerebral palsy. One of the impairments commonly caused by birth injuries is difficulties with processing and expressing speech. Apraxia of speech is a motor speech disorder where individuals are unable to move their lips or tongue to form words clearly. 

Why is Apraxia Significant?

Communication is a key part of the activities of daily living, and it can be difficult for individuals with speech difficulties to express their needs and desires in a way that other people understand. Individuals with apraxia can enroll in occupational, speech or physical therapy programs to help them develop communication techniques that work for them. Because of the primacy of communication in daily living, it is important for people to be aware of and assist those with communication difficulties. Helping the public understand how speech issues develop can help the public understand and better assist those with communication difficulties.

How Does Apraxia Relate to Birth Injuries Like HIE?

Apraxia can be caused by neurological injuries, and neurological injuries can be caused by medical staff errors during pregnancy, birth and delivery. Mistakes made by medical professionals around the time of delivery may have lifelong repercussions. For example, hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) causes fetal oxygen deprivation that can lead to permanent brain damage and speech-language disorders. Depending on the location of the injury, the baby will experience different effects, but one of the most common is cerebral palsy. This motor disorder is often closely tied to speech difficulties. Speech difficulties can sometimes be one manifestation of birth injuries, especially if the speech difficulties coincide with other issues such as cerebral palsy.

Parents should know what some of the risks that accompany birth and delivery are, in order to help them recognize if there was something potentially unusual about their pregnancy that warrants further investigation. It may be possible that a child’s developmental delays and speech difficulties could be due to a medical error.

In What Situations Should I Be Concerned About My Child’s’ Speech Issues?

Every case is unique, so it is difficult to definitively state that a child’s speech issue is a result of a birth injury without knowing that child’s specific health history. There are some indicators that medical and legal professionals can assess to see if medical malpractice was the cause of a specific injury. Some of the most common instances where birth injuries can happen include:

This is by no means a complete list, but it includes some of the most common causes of neonatal brain injuries and birth injury-related apraxia.

Legal Help for Those Impacted by Apraxia

MCPA-site-logo-rev-2-jpg-e1424103326441If your child suffered a birth injury and now has a speech difficulty such as apraxia or dysarthria, please reach out to Michigan Cerebral Palsy Attorneys. We can help you obtain the care and support you and your child need. Take the first step in securing your child’s future care by calling us for a free case evaluation at (888) 592-1857, via email, or via our live chat. We keep your information confidential, and will never charge fees out of pocket until we have secured a recovery for you.

External Apraxia and Dysarthria Resources:

Additional Cerebral Palsy Resources

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