Different Ages, Different Signs of Cerebral Palsy to Look ForCerebral palsy (CP) is the leading motor disability in children. It’s not a single disorder, but a group of disorders that affect a person’s balance, posture, and mobility. Most cases involve spastic CP, which affects a child’s limbs and may cause movements to be stiff and awkward.
There are many causes of cerebral palsy, but the most common is that the brain was damaged either before or during birth. In rarer cases, brain damage occurs after 28 days of birth.
Regardless of when the brain damage occurred, it can take up to two years to diagnose a child with CP. During that time, infants may display symptoms that parents can watch out for if they believe cerebral palsy may be a concern for the child.
- 3 to 6 months
The infant may display stiff or awkward movements. Typically the back will arch and overextend, especially when he or she is being held by someone. The head will also typically fall back when an infant with CP is picked up. The legs can also become stiff and can cross or scissor when the child is picked up.
- 6 to 10 months
As a child gets older, he or she is capable of performing more tasks—it’s an exciting time for parents! Children start to reach with purpose; they start to roll over, and they may even begin to bring small pieces of food to their mouths. This increase of activity can make it easier for parents to look for signs.
When a child has learned to roll over, but avoids doing so in one particular direction, this could be an early symptom of CP. If the child doesn’t seem able to bring his hands together, cannot bring his hands to his mouth, or regularly uses only one hand, these could also be signs of the disorder.
- Older than 10 months
When a child begins to crawl, cerebral palsy will likely become more evident. Because the disorder affects mobility so greatly, crawling in a lopsided manner could be a sign, as could a child refusing to crawl on all fours.
If a child regularly drags one hand and/or leg and pushes off with the other side while crawling, this could also indicate something is affecting the brain’s motor functions.
If your child is suffering from CP and you believe it could have been avoided by better medical care, call Hardwick & Pendergast, P.S. at (888) 228-3860 so we can review your case. If compensation is a possibility for your child’s birth injury, we’ll fight for your rights.