Cerebral palsy cannot be simply determined by a simple test. It is through a combination of clinical tests as well as keen observation that will help you determine early if your child have the condition. Remember that cerebral palsy is not a disease. It is best to throw away that kind of thinking as you begin to learn more about the condition.
If you happen to have a child that was born prematurely or whose weight was quite low at child birth then it is best to be a little bit wary and observe your child carefully since it is possible that your child have cerebral palsy. The chances of having cerebral palsy increase when the mother had an infection during the pregnancy or during the delivery of the baby.
The baby should be observed carefully for signs like seizures or jerky, abrupt and rather slow and uncoordinated movements that are not present to other kids that you know. If you observed that you child’s muscles seems to be too stiff or too loose, then cerebral palsy might be a possible cause. You need to have the child checked by medical professionals in order to diagnose early the problem so you can learn to deal with the condition at the beginning stages.
Other symptoms that can possibly manifest cerebral palsy in a child include no showing of normal reactions to loud noises. These include not blinking in response to loud noises at age one month and not turning their head toward the source of the sound at the age of four months. If you notice that your child is not able to sit up unsupported by the seventh month or is unable to say any words by the age of one year, then there might be a problem with the child’s brain development. Cerebral palsy might be the cause of all the child’s slow motor developments. When you noticed these kinds of thing, it is advisable to immediately seek medical help.
Doctors, aside from the observations you will tell them, have modern medical equipment that can look into your child’s brain to see any scars present that might be able to explain the symptoms. Machines like MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) and CT (Computerized tomography) scans will be able to help doctors diagnose the presence of cerebral palsy.
Even though cerebral palsy is not a progressive condition, the various underlying problems and disabilities that follow cerebral palsy patients can worsen over time. The degree of change and the severity of the problems will depend on the damage to the brain. But more or less, patients with cerebral palsy will experience abnormal muscle tones and movements. This is where the stiffness or the extreme looseness of muscles is observed. Jerky, abrupt, slow or writhing movements are among the muscle movement problems that patients will most likely encounter.
Another noticeable problem is skeletal deformity especially for people who have cerebral palsy on only one side of the body. The uneven muscle development might lead to tilting of pelvic ones or scoliosis. Joints can be affected as well. The joints can stiffen due to the unequal pressures exerted by the muscles. Mental retardation is also a possibility. Since the brain is damaged or underdeveloped, there are often cases of some degree of mental retardation. Seizures and speech problems are also common. Muscle spasms can also cause problems like swallowing or even hearing loss.
These are but some of the signs to look for in a possible cerebral palsy patient. As medical science continue to progress, the better and more accurate the understanding and diagnosis of the condition.