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What Are the Early Signs of Cerebral Palsy?

By Grant Law Office on October 20, 2018

If a child has delays in reaching “movement milestones” from birth to 5 years of age, it could be a sign of cerebral palsy.

Cerebral palsy is caused by damage in the part of the brain that controls movement, balance, and posture. It can be congenital (existing before birth), acquired during a difficult birth, or come from a brain “insult” (injury, trauma, infection) early on in a newborn’s life.

Whatever the cause, here are the early warning signs of cerebral palsy:

6 Months or Younger:

  • Your baby’s head falls back when picked up.
  • Your baby’s legs get stiff, cross or “scissor” when picked up.
  • Your baby overextends the neck and back when being cradled.
  • Your baby feels stiff.
  • Your baby is “floppy.”

Between 6 and 10 Months:

  • Your baby doesn’t roll in either direction.
  • Your baby can’t bring the hands together.
  • Your baby has difficulty bringing hands to the mouth.
  • Your baby reaches out with one hand and keeps the other hand in a fist.

10 Months or Older:

  • Your baby crawls lopsided, favoring one side of the body.
  • Your baby cannot stand even when holding on to support.
  • Your baby scoots on the butt or hops on the knees, but cannot crawl on all fours.

Diagnosing Cerebral Palsy

Though most diagnosis of cerebral palsy is done before age 2, mild cases take longer to spot. By 30 months, however, most developmental delays are visible. Medical providers monitor most children who are at higher risk of developmental problems, and if a problem is suspected, developmental screening is the next step.

Developmental screening tests can be in the form of interviews or questionnaires for the parents, or physical tests for the child. Standard tests are done at age:

  • 9 months
  • 18 months
  • 24 or 30 months

If delays are seen, the doctor will do a developmental and medical evaluation, looking for the specific disorder the child is suffering from. In cases of cerebral palsy, the doctor will also look for related conditions (intellectual disabilities; seizures; vision, hearing, or speech problems) that usually “co-occur” with cerebral palsy.

Who’s Most at Risk for Cerebral Palsy?

Cerebral palsy is more common in boys than in girls—for every 100 girls born with CP, there are 135 boys. Half of all babies with cerebral palsy were born prematurely. Here are some other risk factors for cerebral palsy:

  • Babies with a low birth weight
  • Babies in a multiple birth (twins, triplets, etc.)
  • Babies conceived through assisted reproductive technology
  • Babies who had complications or a difficult birth
  • Babies who suffered a stroke before age 3

Please check out our Frequently Asked Questions About Cerebral Palsy for more information.

Acquired Cerebral Palsy – a Case of Medical Malpractice

Though most cases of cerebral palsy are thought to be congenital, others are caused by medical mistakes. Doctors have more information than mothers. Dangers like infection or a diminished blood supply to the baby during pregnancy or birth can cause cerebral palsy—and quick intervention could have prevented it altogether.

If you worry that your child’s cerebral palsy could have been avoided and want to discuss your case, speak to Grant Law Office. Our Georgia cerebral palsy attorneys have experience in handling birth injuries with sensitivity and knowledge. We know the costs of treating a birth injury over a lifetime, and it is our goal to get justice for wronged families. Call today for a free consultation at (404) 995-3955.

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