Signs of Cerebral Palsy

If you suspect your child may have CP, here are some signs to look for.

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What are the signs Cerebral Palsy?

Cerebral palsy can be caused by birth defects or birth injuries. Signs vary depending on how the brain is injured, which parts of the brain are affected, and based on developmental milestones, when the symptoms become apparent. The main signs of cerebral palsy are problems with movement, coordination, and developmental delays. These include:

  • Poor muscle tone resulting in floppy arms and legs (hypotonia)
  • Rigidity in the muscles felt as stiffness or resistance to movement
  • Uncontrolled or random movements in the arms or legs such as grasping or clapping
  • Difficulty coordinating body movements
  • Muscle spasms
  • Tremors in the hands
  • Difficulty swallowing or uncontrolled drooling
  • Delay in meeting developmental milestones 
  • Inability to hold up their heads when picked up
  • Inability to roll over at 6 months old
  • Inability to stand without help after 10 months

How early can Cerebral Palsy be diagnosed?

There is no test that confirms or rules out Cerebral Palsy so signs of the condition may not be immediately apparent. In most cases, diagnosis is made in the child’s first two years of life, although very mild signs may not become apparent until the brain is more developed, at around three to five years of age.

Although the condition can be hard to diagnose at birth, neonatal specialists can look for early indicators of neurological damage in the context of the baby’s family and medical history, and details of the birth, including prematurity, birth trauma, and complications during the delivery. Asphixia, a condition when a baby does not receive adequate oxygen during or just after birth, can lead to cerebral palsy. Conditions that cause asphyxia include a prolonged or traumatic delivery, the incorrect use of forceps, umbilical cord compression, or the use of a vacuum extractor leading to direct injury to the baby’s brain.

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Every child is different

Cerebral palsy affects every child differently. A neonatal specialist may find the early signs of cerebral palsy immediately at birth but in most cases, the signs of the condition will usually appear over time as the child develops. For example, mild cerebral palsy may not be noticed until a child develops; as this occurs, difficulties such as walking, speech, hearing and/or vision problems, and coordination become more noticeable.

Learn more about what to do after a birth injury in our FREE guide. View Guide

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Cerebral palsy is an emotionally and physically devastating condition, for both the child and their caretakers. It is also a condition with significant financial costs. Where the condition is caused by asphyxia, the cause of the asphyxia is critical to determine whether it was due to the improper management of the birth and whether mistakes were made.

We understand nothing can take away the stress and pain of a cerebral palsy diagnosis. But if the condition was caused by negligence, financial compensation can help fund the costs of future medical treatment, surgery, home healthcare, home adaptations, and other long-term expenses associated with cerebral palsy.

To find out more, contact us for a no-cost, no-pressure consultation today. There is no fee unless we win your case.

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