Cerebral palsy is a movement disorder caused by damage to the developing brain during pregnancy, childbirth or in early childhood. Though the condition can improve over time, many children with cerebral palsy develop learning disabilities or problems with speech, sight, hearing or language.
Early Warning Signs/Symptoms
Children who are born premature, or have difficulties during pregnancy or labor have an increased chance of developing cerebral palsy. Symptoms of cerebral palsy begin to show as the nervous system of the child matures. Developmental milestones that every parent looks forward to — rolling over, sitting up unsupported, and walking — are delayed. Other symptoms include:
- Weak or abnormal muscle tone
- Skeletal defects
- Mental retardation
- Loss of hearing
- Problems speaking, seeing, hearing, or swallowing
- Preferring one hand over another before 12 months
If your child is experiencing any of these symptoms, it is important to visit your pediatrician to see if your child has cerebral palsy. An early diagnosis means more effective treatment.
Diagnosing Cerebral Palsy Early-onA medical professional can diagnose cerebral palsy in early childhood, after a thorough health evaluation. Your doctor will need to know the following information:
- A complete medical history of the mother and father
- Health details related to the pregnancy, labor, delivery, and early infancy
- Details about your child’s symptoms or concerns, including delays in his or her physical or mental development
In addition to a detailed medical history, tests will be performed to rule out other hormonal, metabolic or other conditions including:
- Lab tests
- CT scans
- MRIs of the brain and spinal chord
- Electroencephalography (EEG) and Electromyography (EMG)
How Early Intervention Helps
Early intervention of cerebral palsy is crucial to help your child overcome his or her disability. Though there is no cure for cerebral palsy, an early diagnosis gives your child the opportunity to find ways to overcome the challenges he or she will face due to their condition.
Childhood, before age 3, is when the brain is developing and growing the most, making it the optimal time to train your child’s brain and help your child face his or her condition head-on. Early intervention programs can be tailored to a child’s specific needs.
If your child has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy due to the negligence of another, contact a qualified personal injury attorney today.