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Cerebral Palsy (cont.)

When to Seek Medical Care

If a child was born prematurely, had a low birth weight, or was subject to certain complications of pregnancy, labor, or delivery, he or she will be monitored carefully over time for signs of CP. Any of the following warrant a visit to the child's health care professional:

  • The child has a seizure.
  • The child's movements seem unusually jerky, abrupt, uncoordinated, or slow and writhing.
  • The child's muscles seem unusually tense or, on the other hand, limp and "floppy."
  • The child does not blink in response to loud noises by age 1 month.
  • The child does not turn his or her head toward a sound by age 4 months.
  • The child does not reach out for a toy by age 4 months.
  • The child does not sit up unsupported by age 7 months.
  • The child does not say words by age 12 months.
  • The child develops left- or right-handedness before age 12 months.
  • The child has strabismus (one eye turned inward or outward).
  • The child does not walk or walks with a stiff or abnormal gait, such as toe-walking.

These are only some of the most obvious examples of problems that may signal CP. A parent should speak to the child's health care professional about any problems that suggest a lack of control of muscles or movements.

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Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Cerebral Palsy »

The term cerebral palsy (CP) was originally coined more than a century ago and loosely translates as "brain paralysis."

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