Early Diagnosis of Cerebral Palsy is Important for Kids to Achieve Their Maximum Potential

Cerebral palsy is a complex condition that comes in many forms. CP can involve a variety of symptoms, making it difficult to diagnose until a child reaches a certain age. Many children develop CP at birth, showing early signs that they may have developmental challenges, such as difficulty walking, eating, and speaking.

Children with more mild forms of CP may not receive a diagnosis until they are age 3 or older. However, children with severe CP often receive a diagnosis within the first two years. Research shows that the earlier that a doctor makes a diagnosis, the earlier treatment for the condition can begin.

What are the Early Signs of Cerebral Palsy?

Parents are one of the most important factors in diagnosing cerebral palsy at an early age. Since parents are constantly with the baby, they will be the first to notice any developmental delays and other signs of brain damage. After the baby’s first year of life, his or her symptoms of CP may become more pronounced.

Early signs of cerebral palsy include:

  • Muscle control: Infants may have difficulty controlling one side of their body. They may also have difficulty developing motor skills that other children around their age already mastered.
  • Drooling: For small babies, drooling is a normal function. However, as a child gets older and develop, excessive drooling may become more noticeable. In addition, unusual drooling can be a sign of underlying issues.
  • Stiff or spastic muscles: People with CP often have tight or stiff muscles due to spasticity.
  • Sucking issues: One of the first signs of CP for infants is difficulty swallowing or sucking. This condition is due to a lack of muscle control. A baby may have trouble eating, drinking, or breastfeeding.

CP symptoms vary based on the severity and form of the disease. There is not a single diagnostic test for CP. However, if you believe that your child may have CP, you should seek a diagnosis as soon as possible.

The sooner your child receives a diagnosis, the sooner you can seek treatment to help your child develop to their full potential. As an infant, your child can undergo physical and behavioral therapy and receive medically appropriate treatments for this condition.

As your child reaches certain milestones, he or she will have a team of medical professionals available to aid in his or her development. Children who begin treatment later in life can miss out on this window of opportunity, leading to lower developmental attainment.

How do You Test for CP?

A physician will want to perform multiple tests if he or she believes that a child has cerebral palsy. Since CP is a neurological condition, there are no singular tests or blood labs that can diagnose it. However, a doctor will want to perform a blood test to rule out any other diseases that could mimic CP symptoms.

The most comprehensive and accurate method to diagnose CP is through brain imaging. This process allows a doctor to look for scarring, cysts, or other abnormalities within your child’s brain tissue. This process can be quite difficult for infants, since CT scans and MRIs require a child to be still for a period of time. For small and premature infants, a doctor may perform a cranial ultrasound. Although cranial ultrasounds are less risky and easier to perform than an MRI, these tests are not as accurate.

Your doctor will also use observational techniques to further diagnose your child. Depending on the severity of symptoms, he or she may refer you to a specialist, such as a child neurologist or an eye or ear expert. Observational diagnoses can help confirm CP, along with the particular severity and type of your child’s case.

For treatment, your child’s regimen will vary based on the doctor’s observations and the test results. Whatever therapies your doctor recommends, it is important to start treatment as soon as possible. Children with CP can learn multiple methods to cope and overcome many of their symptoms. Possible treatments include physical therapy, special equipment, and medications.

Seeking diagnosis is the first step you can take toward your child’s future health and wellness. Starting your child’s CP treatment while they are still developing can help him or her reach full potential. Your child will have a chance at a better quality of life if you visit a doctor and seek treatment immediately.

Legal Assistance for Children With Cerebral Palsy

If your child has cerebral palsy, it may have occurred due to a birth injury. Oxygen deprivation, improper fetal monitoring, and other forms of medical malpractice can lead to this condition. If you feel medical malpractice is responsible for your child’s condition, you deserve top-quality legal representation.

If you need legal assistance for your child’s cerebral palsy case, Cerebral Palsy LLC can help. Based in Chicago, our firm assists clients across the United States seeking justice for their children’s birth injuries. We have experience litigating cases involving cerebral palsy, meconium aspiration syndrome, and other common birth injuries.

Contact Cerebral Palsy LLC to receive a free evaluation for your cerebral palsy case today.