Your baby’s brain is still developing at his or her birth. If something happens to disrupt this development, or if the development is abnormal, damage to the brain can result that leads to cerebral palsy.
If your child has cerebral palsy, your doctor may recognize the symptoms and make a diagnosis. However, as the person who spends the most time with your baby, you may be in a position to recognize the signs before your child’s physician does. If you notice troubling symptoms, you should bring them to the doctor’s attention right away so that he or she can either confirm or rule out a diagnosis of cerebral palsy.
Any time you notice a symptom in your child that causes you unease, you should talk to a physician about it. However, you may not recognize some symptoms as cause for concern. Here are some important signs that could indicate your child may have cerebral palsy.
While every child is unique, each tends to learn the same skills at around the same age. In other words, based on research, you and your doctor can predict what your baby should be able to do by a certain age. If your child is not meeting expected developmental milestones, it could be a symptom of cerebral palsy.
For example, by the age of 10 months, a baby should be able to stand unaided and/or crawl, and a six-month-old should be able to roll over. Your doctor should monitor these milestones, but if you do not see them when you expect to, bring them to the physician’s attention.
Neurological and motor symptoms
The brain damage that causes cerebral palsy can result in abnormalities of the musculoskeletal and neurological systems. You may observe your child favoring one side of the body while crawling or reaching for objects. Or, you may notice muscle tone that is either too floppy or too weak.
Your child may exhibit mental health conditions or intellectual disabilities, abnormalities of sight and hearing, or abnormal urinary incontinence. Seizures are a common symptom of cerebral palsy affecting both the neurological and musculoskeletal systems.