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How is Cerebral Palsy Detected?
Signs and symptoms of cerebral palsy appear during infancy or the preschool years. Cerebral palsy is typically suspected when a parent or caretaker notices developmental delays in skills such as rolling over, crawling or walking. The first sign that something is wrong often comes when a child doesn’t reach these milestones or exhibits unusual behavior when attempting these movements.
Signs and symptoms can vary greatly, but in addition to developmental delays, other early indicators can include:
- Variations in muscle tone, such as being either too stiff or too floppy
- Favoring one side of the body, such as reaching with only one hand or dragging a leg while crawling
- Stiff muscles and exaggerated reflexes (spasticity) or muscle stiffness with normal reflexes (rigidity)
- Lack of muscle coordination (ataxia)
- Tremors or involuntary movements
- Slow, writhing movements (athetosis)
Brain abnormalities associated with Cerebral palsy also may contribute to other neurological problems such as:
- Difficulty with vision and hearing
- Intellectual disabilities
- Abnormal touch or pain perceptions
- Oral diseases
- Mental health (psychiatric) conditions
- Urinary incontinence
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