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How Do You Detect Cerebral Palsy?

March 01, 2021
Detecting Cerebral Palsy in Pittsburgh, PA

Cerebral palsy is a serious medical condition that can have significant impacts on cognitive abilities and motor functioning. Signs of cerebral palsy usually become evident within the first months of a child’s life. Diagnosing cerebral palsy can happen through one of several techniques. Continue reading to find out how to detect cerebral palsy. 

Monitoring a Child’s Development

Developmental monitoring involves tracking a child’s development, usually at each check-up with the child’s pediatrician. The child’s doctor will ask the parents or guardians whether they have specific concerns about their child’s development, noting the developmental milestones that the child is achieving, and also observing the child during the exam for signs of developmental delays. Children at higher risk for developmental issues, such as those with low birthrate or who were born prematurely, should be closely monitored. 

Developmental Screening

In a developmental screening, a child will be given short tests to check for specific developmental delays. Parents may also be given questionnaires or interviewed as part of the screening process. The standard of care calls for children to be given developmental screening during check-ups at nine months, 18 months, and 24 to 30 months. 

Most motor deficiencies become evident when a child reaches nine months of age, although by 30 months of age if a child is suffering from any motor skills issues, no matter how slight, they will have become apparent. 

If a developmental screening gives the child’s pediatrician cause for concern, they will typically refer the child for a medical evaluation and for early childhood services.

Read more: Birth-Related Injuries To The Mother: Common Types And Causes

Medical Evaluation

In a medical evaluation, a child is examined to diagnose the specific condition or disorder that is causing the child’s developmental delays, such as cerebral palsy. In the evaluation, a doctor will look closely at various details including motor skills, reflexes, muscle tone, and posture. The evaluation will usually be conducted by specialists like developmental pediatricians, pediatric neurologists, and pediatric physiatrists.

If a child is suspected of having cerebral palsy, they will also be evaluated for other issues that the condition can cause, such as intellectual disabilities, vision/hearing problems, or seizures. 

If an evaluation indicates that a child is suffering from cerebral palsy, the exam may also include other testing such as CT scans, MRIs, EEGs to determine the cause of the condition. 

What to Do If You Think Your Child May Be Suffering from Cerebral Palsy

If your child is not hitting their developmental milestones or if you suspect that they may have cerebral palsy, you should contact your child’s pediatrician as soon as possible. Your child’s doctor can refer you to specialists who can perform the specialized screenings and evaluations necessary to confirm a cerebral palsy diagnosis. 

You can also reach out to the state, which may be able to provide your child with intervention services to help them with their developmental progression. 

Although cerebral palsy has many different causes, a significant number of cases arise from a birth injury that was inflicted due to negligent actions by the delivery team during a child’s birth. You may also want to consider speaking with a medical malpractice attorney, who can review your case to determine if medical negligence may have been the cause of your child’s cerebral palsy. You may be entitled to financial compensation to help you get the resources needed for your child’s care.

Contact A Medical Malpractice Attorney for a Consultation About Your Birth Injury Case in Pennsylvania

Were you or a loved one injured due to medical malpractice in Pennsylvania? Then you need to talk to an experienced medical malpractice lawyer as soon as possible for guidance on how to proceed. The Pittsburgh birth injury attorneys at Berger & Lagnese, LLC are prepared to assist you with your legal claim. We represent victims of negligent surgeons, doctors, nurses, and pharmacists throughout Pennsylvania, including Indiana, New Castle, Uniontown, and Washington. Call us today at (412) 471-4300 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a consultation. Our main office is located at 310 Grant St., Suite 720, Pittsburgh, PA 15219.

The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.

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