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Will new research lead to treatment development for disabled children?

Written by Ankin Law Office

About one in six American children suffer from developmental disabilities, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. These chronic disabilities may affect learning, language use and general behavior. As any SSD attorney in Illinois knows, these disabilities can markedly limit a child’s abilities and activities. Fortunately, new research may yield a treatment for some children with disabilities involving language use and cognition.

Gene, language processing linked

A study published in Cerebral Cortex recently identified a chromosome abnormality associated with delays in language processing among children. Past research has linked abnormalities in the same chromosome to neurodevelopmental issues, including certain autism spectrum disorders.

Researchers measured magnetic fields in the brains of 115 children to determine how long they needed to respond to sounds. Children with one form of the chromosome abnormality needed 23 milliseconds to start auditory processing, which represented a significant delay. Furthermore, most children who exhibited this delay had a neurodevelopmental disability.

The delay measured did not predict the severity of each child’s symptoms. However, researchers believe the delay may point to a biological pathway for neurological or neurodevelopmental disabilities. Future research will investigate other genes tied to mental disorders to determine whether abnormalities are associated with similar delays. Researches also will test whether a drug that affects synapse transmission reduces the delay. If this approach is effective, it could lead to new treatment protocols.

Resources for disabled children

Children who suffer from disabling mental illnesses that lack effective treatments may qualify for Social Security benefits. Minor children may be eligible for Supplemental Security Income if their families meet financial criteria. After age 18, disabled children may qualify for Social Security Disability benefits, as any SSD attorney in Illinois can explain. However, children must meet the following financial criteria:

  • The child must have an adequate earnings record. A child’s age determines what he or she must have earned to qualify for benefits.
  • Alternately, a child must have a parent who receives benefits or a deceased parent who qualified for benefits.
  • The child cannot engage in substantial gainful activity. As any SSD attorney in Illinois can explain, in 2015, this is work yielding monthly income over $1,090.

If these criteria are met, Social Security evaluates whether a disabled adult child can work. If gainful work is not feasible, given the child’s condition, Social Security may award benefits.

Social Security’s “Blue Book” lists conditions that are automatically considered disabling if certain criteria are fulfilled. However, many developmental disabilities, including autism, are not directly listed. People seeking SSD benefits for these conditions must document their functional limitations to prove they cannot work. Given the complexity of establishing mental disorders, applicants may benefit from working with an attorney during this process.

Categories: Social Security