Cerebral Palsy (cont.)
IN THIS ARTICLE
Exams and Tests
Diagnosing cerebral palsy
A doctor diagnoses CP based on:
If the diagnosis is unclear, more tests may be done. Sometimes these tests can help find out the severity of CP.
A doctor may closely monitor a newborn or child for signs of CP if he or she has known risk factors. These factors may be related to problems during pregnancy or birth, being born early (premature birth), or problems that occur within the first 2 or 3 years of life.
Doctors are careful not to diagnose CP too early, because some babies who have motor skill problems soon after birth never get CP.
Sometimes symptoms may not appear until the nervous system matures. It can take up to a few years before doctors can tell if a baby with body movement and posture (motor) problems has CP.
Evaluating and monitoring cerebral palsy
After CP is diagnosed, a child will also be checked for other medical conditions that can occur with cerebral palsy, such as:
Most of the time, a doctor can predict many of the long-term physical effects of CP when a child is 1 to 3 years old. But sometimes such predictions aren't possible until a child reaches school age. That's when learning, communication skills, and other abilities can be checked.
Some children need repeated testing that may include:
Other tests may be needed, depending on a child's symptoms, other conditions, or medicines he or she takes.
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