A diagnosis or cerebral palsy is often not made during early infancy because the abnormal development of muscles or lack of coordination is not noticeable. This is especially true when cerebral palsy follows a premature birth. With a low birth weight and premature delivery, the presence of signs are often mistakenly attributed to developmental immaturity as opposed to a brain injury.
If a child has suffered brain damage before, during or after birth, the signs and symptoms of cerebral palsy may be subtle. As the newborn grows and matures, the results of a brain injury often become more and more apparent, leading to a cerebral palsy diagnosis.
Early signs of cerebral palsy in a baby may include:
- poor head control
- startles excessively
- stiffness, floppiness or unusual muscle tone
- difficulty sucking or feeding
- delayed motor development
- poor posture
- slowness to reach developmental milestones (for example: holding head up, rolling over, crawling, supporting own weight)
- seizures (information: signs of seizures in a newborn)
▸ LEARN MORE: Cerebral Palsy Symptoms
In most cases, a diagnosis of cerebral palsy is made after a parent informs the doctor about development problems or concerns. A parent is much more likely to notice the signs and symptoms of cerebral palsy than the doctor or physician who only observe the child for limited periods of time. Therefore, it is important for a parent with concerns about delays in development or suspicions about certain behaviors to communicate their concerns to the physician.
TESTS TO DIAGNOSE CEREBRAL PALSY
Several different diagnostic tests may be recommended to identify or evaluate symptoms and diagnose cerebral palsy, including:
- blood tests
- electromyography (study of the muscles)
- ct-scan (computer tomography)
- MRI (magnetic resonance imaging)
- biopsy of the muscles
If you suspect that your child may have cerebral palsy, the first thing to do is contact your pediatrician. As the advocate for your child, explain the concerns you have and the observations you have made. If you do not believe that the doctor has given the time and attention to your concerns, you should insist that the child be fully examined or consult with a specialist at your local children’s hospital.
FREE CLAIM EVALUATION WITH CEREBRAL PALSY ATTORNEYS
In many cases, cerebral palsy is caused by a brain injury at the time of birth as a result of a medical mistake. Therefore, in some cases, an independent opinion from a different doctor may lead to a diagnosis of cerebral palsy.
If your child has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy, our cerebral palsy lawyers can investigate the circumstances surrounding the birth and have medical records reviewed by qualified experts to determine whether the cerebral palsy could have been prevented with the exercise of proper standards of medical care.
There are no fees or expenses unless a recovery is obtained for the child. There are different deadlines in each state which could bar the child’s right to obtain cerebral palsy benefits, so it is important to have any potential claim reviewed as soon as you can.