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What symptoms are associated with cerebral palsy?

Cerebral palsy symptoms are varied depending on the severity of the case and what parts of the brain have been affected. Some cases are very mild, while others are extremely severe.

Symptoms will most likely present themselves before a child is 2 years old, and can become apparent as early as 3 months. As each developmental stage passes which include sitting, rolling, crawling, and walking, symptoms will become more pronounced.

There are several factors that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have identified as warning signs:

A child who is more than 2 months old who:

  • Has difficulty controlling her head when picked up
  • Has stiff legs that cross or “scissor” when picked up

A child more than 6 months old who:

  • Reaches with only one hand while keeping the other in a fist

A child more than 10 months old who:

  • Crawls by pushing off with one hand and leg while dragging the opposite hand and leg

A child more than 12 months old who:

  • Cannot crawl
  • Cannot stand with support

Early signs that a child could have suffered a brain injury that will result in cerebral palsy include:

  • A lack of muscle tone
  • The infant needed resuscitation after birth

Other symptoms of cerebral palsy include noticing a child is using one side of their body, or if they have very tight muscles that don’t stretch easily.

If there is brain damage involved parents will notice speech problems, hearing or vision problems, seizures, and the possibility of decreased intelligence.

Cerebral palsy is a condition that can be mild to severe; noticing warning signs early will allow parents to obtain treatment for their child, giving them a chance at living a healthier life.

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