Early Diagnosis Of Cerebral Palsy

Posted In: Neurologist     2018-02-21     33

Early diagnosis of cerebral palsy is crucial to maximize a child’s potential and mobility. Often, diagnosis of cerebral palsy is delayed for various reasons sometimes medical professionals fail to detect cerebral palsy at an early stage.


There is no single test available that can accurately diagnose a child with cerebral palsy. Diagnosing cerebral palsy is time taking and long process.


In severe cases, cerebral palsy may be detected soon after the birth, but for the most of the cases, diagnosis can be made in the first two years after the birth.


For the children with milder symptoms, a diagnosis may not be made until the brain develops fully at 3-5 years of age. For an instance, the normal age to diagnose a child with spastic diplegia, another common form of cerebral palsy, is 18 months.


Diagnosing Cerebral Palsy can involve many steps. The first step is checking for important indicators including:


·         When the child reaches development signpost and growth does charts standards for weight and height?

·         How do the reflexes of child react?

·         Does movement and posture of your child seem abnormal?


·         Does it look as if the kid is able to focus on and hear his or her caretakers?   


In the first step medical professional will test reflexes, posture, muscle tone, coordination and other important factors. Your doctor may ask for other tests such as MRIs, CT scans, or cranial ultrasounds.


As there is no single test to confirm the diagnosis of cerebral palsy, so doctors may use one or a combination of the following to help the diagnosis process:


·         Reviewing paternal health history

·         Assessing reproductive health factors

·         Considering APGAR score

·         Evaluate labor, pregnancy and delivery records

·         Analyzing newborn screen tests conducted at birth

·         Conduct a physical test of baby

·         Reviewing baby’s birth, developmental, medical and growth records

·         Undertaking additional screen tests such as fatty acids, hearing, hemoglobinopathies and amino acids

·         Performing neuro-imaging tests to determine the existence of the brain

·         Performing electroencephalography (EEG) or electromyography (EMG) to check the function of nervous system

·         Conducting lab tests including blood work, urinalysis or genetic testing


·         Conducting evaluations such as gait, speech, vision, hearing, feeding, mobility and digestion, cognitive and rehabilitation needs. 


Why is it important to diagnose cerebral palsy?


The diagnosis of cerebral palsy is important for several reasons such as:

·         To understand the health status of child

·         To start early treatment and intervention

·         To get rid of doubt and fear of not knowing


·         To find and lock benefits to offset the cost of bringing up a child with cerebral palsy.