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Cerebral Palsy Diagnosis

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Understanding Methods Used to Diagnose CP - Chicago Birth Injury Lawyers

When a child suffers from a developmental disorder, parents will want to ensure that they fully understand the disorder and what should be done to provide for the child's needs. Cerebral Palsy, or CP, is the most common type of motor disorder that affects children, but unfortunately, it often goes undiagnosed until a child is between three and five years old. Parents should be sure to recognize the signs and symptoms of CP and understand the methods doctors use to diagnose this condition. A proper diagnosis will identify the type of Cerebral Palsy a child has, ensuring that parents can provide the proper care and treatment throughout the child's life.

CP Diagnosis in Newborns

Brain injuries during birth are one of the most common causes of CP. If a child experienced trauma during labor and delivery, or if birth-related complications may have caused harm to the baby's brain, doctors should perform the proper tests to identify and properly classify Cerebral Palsy. Some tests which may be performed after a child's birth include:

  • Neuroimaging tests - Doctors may order a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) tests, computed tomography (CT) scans, or cranial ultrasounds to obtain detailed images of the child's brain. This can help identify any abnormalities, lesions, or bleeding in the brain, skull fractures, or other conditions which indicate CP.
  • Electroencephalogram (EEG) - By measuring the electrical activity of a child's brain, a doctor may be able to determine whether a child has epilepsy. Children with Cerebral Palsy may experience seizures which can cause brain injuries to worsen, so prompt identification and treatment of these issues is crucial.
  • Blood tests - If CP is suspected, or if a child has experienced hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), a screening should be performed to identify any blood clotting disorders and ensure that these conditions are treated correctly.

Observations and Diagnostic Screenings

In mild to moderate Cerebral Palsy cases, a child's condition may not be immediately apparent. However, parents may notice developmental delays, such as a child not meeting expected milestones, such as rolling over, holding their head up, sitting up, picking up and manipulating objects, crawling, or walking. In these cases, parents should consult with a doctor, who may perform a variety of tests to determine whether CP may be the reason for these delays. In addition to the brain imaging, EEG, and blood tests described above, a variety of other diagnostic screenings and evaluations may be used, including:

  • Reflex tests - Babies have developmental reflexes that are displayed when they are placed in certain positions, such as when they are lying on their back or held vertically. These reflexes typically disappear when they are three to six months old, but if they persist past six months of age, this can be a sign of CP. A doctor should test for abnormal responses or exaggerated reflexes.
  • Developmental tests - Doctors or other medical professionals may perform evaluations of a child's vision, hearing, speech, and intellectual capabilities to identify any conditions that are associated with Cerebral Palsy and ensure that a child receives the proper treatment.

Assistance With CP Diagnosis

If you suspect that your child has Cerebral Palsy, you will want to understand the extent of their condition, the effects of any related complications, and the steps you should take to provide them with the treatment they need. Identifying this condition as early as possible will help you protect your child's quality of life and give them the proper care.

At the Birth Injury Law Alliance, we can help make sure you have the tools and resources you need to receive a proper diagnosis of your child's condition and obtain the treatment they require. We will work with you to determine whether your child's injury was the result of medical negligence, and we will help you understand your legal options for recovering the financial compensation your family deserves. For a free consultation and case evaluation, contact us today at 312-945-1300.

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