Cerebral palsy is not one disorder but a group of disorders. Most often, children develop cerebral palsy in infancy. Often, this occurs due to abnormal brain development, explains the CDC.
While the symptoms of cerebral palsy or CP may differ from person to person, some babies may grow up to only have minimal issues whereas others may need life-long care and might not walk.
Signs of cerebral palsy
Some parents see the signs of cerebral palsy before the baby turns six months old. For young babies, their heads may lag when you pick them up, they may feel stiff, floppy or their legs could cross and scissor. Once the baby reaches the six-month mark, he or she may not roll over, bring his or her hands to the mouth or might keep one hand fisted when reaching for you or other items. For babies that crawl, they may crawl lopsidedly or scoot on knees.
Some of the symptoms of cerebral palsy do not necessarily indicate cerebral palsy. The complicated nature of cerebral palsy requires extensive screening.
Screening of cerebral palsy
The best way to care for a baby who has cerebral palsy is to catch it early. The first step to diagnosing cerebral palsy is through tracking growth and development. During a developmental screening, you will find out if your child has any specific needs or delays. When a child’s results concern a doctor, the child may ask for more medical evaluations. Your child may need to undergo an examination from developmental pediatricians, child neurologists and pediatric psychiatrists. Some doctors can use brain imaging tests to check for cerebral palsy.