Diagnosis for Cerebral Palsy
Cerebral palsy may be diagnosed immediately after the infliction of traumatic birth injuries like hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (birth asphyxia) or intracranial hemorrhages, or diagnosis for cerebral palsy may occur later when parents notice their child missing major developmental milestones. Regardless of when parents or medical professionals detect the condition, a diagnosis for cerebral palsy can be devastating. In this section, we’ll discuss the various diagnostic tests available to those affected by cerebral palsy, as well as the importance of early diagnosis and a multi-specialist diagnostic process.
The Cerebral Palsy Diagnosis
Physicians can diagnose cerebral palsy as early as one month, but often diagnosis is either postponed or missed until the child is at least 18-24 months of age. Medical professionals either miss early diagnosis because signs and symptoms develop with the baby’s nervous system or they delay diagnosis in order to wait to evaluate the child’s functional status and the progression of the symptoms. Furthermore, because no single diagnostic test confirms or denies the presence of cerebral palsy, the diagnosis is often a complicated process.
Even in cases of severe brain damage, signs aren’t immediately evident—spastic cerebral palsy usually isn’t diagnosed until at least 6 months of age, dyskinetic CP often isn’t diagnosed until 18 months of age, and ataxic CP is diagnosed even later. Most diagnoses are made between three and five years of age when the child’s brain fully develops. Oftentimes, parents are the ones to first notice the signs of disability and prompt diagnosis.
The Features of Diagnosis for Cerebral Palsy
In this section we’ll discuss everything from the specific diagnostic tests used to detect cerebral palsy to the timeline by which brain damage occurs. Whether you or a loved one are affected by cerebral palsy, we encourage you to acquaint yourself with the information surrounding diagnosis and reach out for legal help if need be.
We’ve divided this section into the following aspects of diagnosis: