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Important Facts About Cerebral Palsy: Signs & Symptoms

September 3rd, 2015

Every year thousands of expectant parents and new born babies suffer birth injuries that might have been prevented.

One of the most common birth injuries is cerebral palsy. At The Yost Legal Group, we want to help spread awareness about cerebral palsy by providing facts and resources to help families.

Does my Child have Cerebral Palsy?

It can be extremely difficult for parents and even for doctors to recognize the early signs of cerebral palsy in new born babies. Some children do not demonstrate the early signs of cerebral palsy until they are three or even four years old.

However, some early signs to watch for that may be evidence of cerebral palsy include:

  • In Babies Younger than 6 Months: Your baby feels either extremely stiff or extremely floppy when held. When picked up and cradled, your baby’s legs may become stiff and cross or scissor, and your baby’s head may lag.
  • In Babies Older than 6 Months: Your baby cannot roll over in either direction; cannot bring his or her hands together; or, your baby has difficulty bringing his or her hands to his mouth, and cannot reach out with both hands simultaneously.
  • In Babies Older than 10 Months: Your baby cannot crawl on all fours; or, your baby either crawls by reaching out with one hand and leg while dragging the other, or moves by either hopping on his knees or scooting on his buttocks.

Cerebral palsy can take many forms, meaning that a child may have cerebral palsy even if he or she does not demonstrate all of the above behaviors. One of the most reliable ways for you as parents to spot the early signs of cerebral palsy is to closely monitor your child’s development.

If you notice that your  baby is not reaching certain developmental milestones within your pediatrician’s timeframe, such developmental delay could be an early indication of cerebral palsy.

What is Developmental Delay?

All children will grow and mature at their own pace, but there are certain markers of movement and motor function that indicate that a child is developing at a normal rate. Developmental Delay occurs when a child fails to reach specific motor skill milestones in a timely manner. Below are some important milestones for motor-skill development, along with when they usually occur:

  • Around 6 weeks: Child can begin to smile
  • Around 3 to 4 months: Child can reach for toys and roll on to their back
  • Around 6 to 7 months: Child can sit up on their own
  • Around 10 to 14 months: Child begins to walk

It is important to note that if your child has not reached one or more of these milestones in the suggested time frame, it does not necessarily mean they have cerebral palsy; however, these milestones often offer a strong early indicator of the disability.

What are the Signs & Symptoms of Cerebral Palsy?

If you notice any of the above signs or early indications of Developmental Delay, it is important to see a doctor right away. When examining a child and attempting to detect cerebral palsy, doctors will focus on eight clinical signs related to:

  • Muscle tone
  • Movement Coordination and Control
  • Reflex
  • Posture
  • Balance
  • Gross Motor Function
  • Fine Motor Function
  • Oral Motor Function

Each one of these eight clinical signs has certain criteria and symptoms that doctors will closely monitor during an examination. Doctors will examine a child to see if there is evidence of developmental impairment in any or all of these categories.

Protecting The Rights of Families and Children

Cerebral palsy is a permanent injury that often requires a lifetime of medical care and therapy. The cost of care for a child with cerebral palsy or any birth injury can be astronomical. If your child’s injury was caused by a medical mistake, the experienced Birth Injury lawyers at The Yost Legal Group are here to help.

The Yost Legal Group’s Baltimore Medical Malpractice and Birth Injury law firm, will work hard to secure the justice and financial compensation you and your family deserve.

Call The Yost Legal Group today at 1-800-YOST-LAW (967-8529) to receive a FREE, confidential and no-obligation consultation about your birth injury case. When you call, you will speak with a Baltimore Birth Injury attorney with real experience absolutely free. If we take your case, our legal team will investigate every detail surrounding your child’s birth injury and will help provide the answers you seek.

At The Yost Legal Group, you will never pay an attorney’s fee unless we achieve a recovery for you. We don’t get paid until you do.

The Yost Legal Group – Experienced Attorneys Dedicated to Protecting Your Rights