Cerebral palsy is a disorder that may lead to abnormalities or brain damage. If you suspect your child has cerebral palsy, you want to be sure of the signs and symptoms you are looking for. This is the first step towards getting your child the attention and care they require. You shouldn’t let unanswered concerns and questions pass – talk to a doctor about it. The Early Intervention program can help your child lead a better life, and delaying treatment can affect their recovery.
So, what are the early signs and symptoms of cerebral palsy? Signs may appear in the first few days or weeks, but they may differ from one child to another since cerebral palsy affects people differently. In some people, the signs may not appear until the third year.
- Muscle tone impairment
Muscle tone impairment is the most recognizable sign of cerebral palsy. With proper muscle development, your child should be able to stand, sit, the limbs should bend, and the child should have good posture without any help. Hypertonia and hypotonia are the two most common types of muscle deformities in cerebral palsy patients. Hypotonia is the decrease in muscle tone – flaccid limbs. Hypertonia is the increase of muscle tones, characterized by rigid limbs.
- Developmental delays
Muscle tone impairment may be the most noticeable cerebral palsy sign, but developmental delays are the main sign that a child might have this disorder. A child with cerebral palsy is slow to reach milestones such as rolling over, crawling, sitting, and walking.
- Asymmetrical posture
Asymmetrical posture is when the child’s left limb does not mirror each other when the child is sitting or moving. They might also use one side of the body more than the other when moving or crawling.
- Impaired oral motor function
Impaired oral motor function is evident when a child experiences difficulty in using their tongue, jaw, and lips. It is present in nine out of 10 children diagnosed with cerebral palsy. For safe swallowing, speech, and eating, the oral motor function needs to be functioning well. Signs of impaired oral motor function include:
- Over drooling
- Difficulty in chewing
- Difficulty in swallowing
- Difficulty in speaking
What should you do after your child has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy?
Learning your child has some form of disorder can leave you frightened and feeling helpless. Questions like how you will cope with caring for the child and financially may start crossing your mind. The good news is that there are many organizations that offer emotional, financial, and medical support to parents whose children have been diagnosed with cerebral palsy. They include:
- The Cerebral Palsy Foundation
- Cure CP
- March of Dimes
- Reaching For the Stars
You can also get a financial boost by filing for a medical malpractice lawsuit with the help of the Tinker Law firm. Your child’s cerebral palsy may be a result of a birth injury caused by the carelessness of a doctor or nurse slightly before, during, or after birth. In that case, your child is eligible for personal injury compensation.
If you suspect your baby might have cerebral palsy, it is good to consult a doctor to be sure. If your fears are confirmed, early intervention may significantly improve your child’s life quality.