If your child has been diagnosed with dysarthria as a result of a birth injury, Willens & Baez will help you understand your legal rights and options.
When you go into labor, you put your faith in your doctor, trusting he will be attentive and observant of your situation. Complications resulting in dysarthria don’t just affect your precious infant, it will affect your entire family for decades as you struggle to provide the necessary care of tending to a handicapped child.
What is Childhood Dysarthria?
Childhood dysarthria can be defined as a motor speech disorder that develops due to damage to the muscles that control speech. Those who suffer from this condition have weak respiratory system and mouth muscles, which affects their ability to talk. Infant and childhood dysarthria can develop as a result of birth injury that caused brain trauma. The condition can be congenital as well.
Symptoms of Childhood Dysarthria
It is not exactly known when the symptoms of childhood dysarthria start showing. However, the severity of the symptoms depend on where the damage is located in the nervous system. As the child grows, the symptoms become more noticeable when the child shows slurred speed or an abnormal speaking pattern. They may speak too slow or too fast. Children who suffer from this condition are normally difficult to understand when talking. Due to the damage to their mouth and facial muscles, children with this condition have limited movement of their tongue, jaw and lips. They may also have feeding and swallowing problems, and excessive drooling.
Other symptoms may include:
- Trouble with using the correct annunciations
- Making extremely low sounds and/or extremely loud sounds
- Hoarse or hypernasal voice, or a combination of both
Causes of Childhood Dysarthria
Dysarthria can be a result of a variety of disorders affecting nervous system, these include:
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Lou Gherig’s Disease (ALS)
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Huntington’s Disease
- Other unknown nervous system damage
Children who develop this condition often do so as a result of a brain injury. In some cases, they have also been diagnosed with cerebral palsy. However, not all children with dysarthria have cerebral palsy.
Diagnosis of Childhood Dysarthria
Diagnosing dysarthria in an infant or child can be extremely challenging, and there is no child cased diagnostic method available. So, speech language pathologists and other doctors normally depend on development speech models that are designed to diagnose adults. Generally, doctors perform a physical examination to rule out any medical conditions. They also check the production of airflow and the ability of the child to move his/her mouth, tongue and jaw. The doctors may also perform a CT scan or MRI scan to take images of the brain. A respiratory function exam and laryngoscopy may also be carried out.
Treatment for Childhood Dysarthria?
The treatment depends on the severity of the condition, and usually includes a variety of motor strengthening exercises. The child may also require cognitive restructuring of oral movement by way of electrical stimulation. Some advanced techniques such as motor learning and Lee Silverman voice treatment (LSVT) have become popular for treatment of childhood dysarthria. In severe cases, surgery may be the only option.
Seeking Compensation for Birth Injuries
If your child’s dysarthria is a result of brain damage sustained as a result of birth injury, contact Willens & Baez to understand your rights, and to pursue compensation from at-fault doctors.
You can trust that our experienced team will give you the personalized attention and respect you deserve. Using our extensive experience with personal injury and medical malpractice law, we will dedicate the time and resources necessary to aggressively pursue your case! Call us at (312) 957-4166 to schedule a free case evaluation.