According to the CDC, cerebral palsy is the most common motor disability in childhood, affecting one in about 300 children. The condition leads to movement difficulties, speech impediments and not reaching developmental milestones within the normal time. Children born with cerebral palsy need specialized treatment and rehabilitation for a large part of their lives.
Signs Are Different From Symptoms
Signs of cerebral palsy differ from symptoms. This is because symptoms refer to the child’s subjective experiences, while signs are what you or a primary care doctor can observe via an evaluation. That being said, it’s important to keep an eye out on your child if you suspect that they have cerebral palsy. In some cases, you may be able to avert certain complications which may result in stunted growth.
Here are a few signs pointing to the existence of cerebral palsy:
- Your child has a weak shrill or cry moments after birth or during the first few weeks of it being born.
- Problems with swallowing and sucking.
- The baby adopts unusual positions; its body either looks too relaxed or its muscles are tensed up.
- Not sitting up by 7 months.
- Not trying to verbalize by 12 months.
- Constant stumbling and falling.
- Walking with an unusual gait.
- The child may not be able to support its head leading to its head hanging on either side.
- The child may cross its legs when you cradle it in your hands.
- The child may not crawl or walk unaided at age 1.
All these signs point to brain damage brought on by early infection, improper birthing techniques or trauma to the part of the brain controlling movement and coordination.
It’s important that you see a doctor as soon as possible if you notice any of the signs mentioned above. Early intervention may hold the key when it comes to successful treatment.
Additionally, you need to watch out for things like skin irritation especially around the mouth, chin and chest. Children born with or who develop cerebral palsy may have weak facial muscles which may make it hard for them to close their mouth leading to excessive drooling and subsequent skin irritation.
Cerebral palsy diagnosis isn’t usually cut and dry. Doctors are able to make a diagnosis only when there’s some kind of developmental delay. It’s important to be vigilant and be aware of what these milestones are so that you’re able to act fast to help prevent cerebral palsy complications in your child.