Caused by damage to the brain, cerebral palsy is an incurable condition that can result in an inability to speak, properly think, walk and otherwise coordinate movement. Although cerebral palsy can be caused by any trauma to the brain, many cases develop as a result of complications that occur in the womb, during the birthing process or immediately thereafter. Children are typically diagnosed with severe cases of cerebral palsy by the age of two, while milder manifestations of the condition may not be diagnosed until a child is 5 years old.
Delays in the diagnostic process are common due to the fact that the symptoms of cerebral palsy – impairments to cognition, speech and movement – won't be recognizable until a child is of age to learn how to speak and walk. At this time, parents should work with specialists to thoroughly evaluate whether a child has a learning disability and, if present, how severe it is. Understanding such nuances of a cerebral palsy patient's condition will help parents and professionals tailor treatments, education and activities to a specific learning environment that is appropriate for each child.
Cerebral Palsy and Learning Disorders
Learning disorders in cerebral palsy patients can be complicated by the fact that cerebral palsy symptoms can include vision, hearing and communication impairments, which can make it difficult for them to express themselves and for others to know whether the patient comprehends the information. While the precise nature of a patient's learning disorder will vary with the severity of the condition, elements of learning disabilities associated with cerebral palsy may include:
- auditory processing disorder, such as an inability to comprehend multiple tasks at one time
- math disorder, difficulty memorizing math facts, as well as organizing and conceptualizing numbers
- motor skill impairments
- reading disorders, such as dyslexia
- writing disorders
Diagnosing Cerebral Palsy Learning Difficulties & Problems
To make a thorough and accurate assessment of a cerebral palsy patient’s learning disability, professionals will ask the patient to undergo a series of tests to assess:
- mathematical skills
- problem solving abilities
- written expression
Specific types of tests, which may be obtained from the Southwest Educational Development Laboratory, may include the:
- Comprehensive Test of Phonological Processing
- Gray's Diagnostic Reading Tests (ed. 2)
- Gray Oral Reading Test IV
- Gray Silent Reading Test
- Stanford Achievement Test (ed. 10)
- Stanford Diagnostic Reading Assessment
- Weschler Individual Achievement Test II
- Wide Range Achievement Test III
- Woodcock Johnson III
If your child has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy, early intervention can help with the learning disabilities associated with the condition; early intervention refers to programs implemented before a child is 3 years old.
For more information about learning disabilities and the resources that may be helpful, call us at (800) 646-6570 to contact a cerebral palsy attorney.