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Diagnosing Cerebral Palsy: Connecting Developmental Disorder to a Birth Injury

Posted on in Cerebral Palsy

Chicago birth injury lawyerCerebral palsy (CP) is a developmental disorder that affects the nervous system and can lead to movement issues, and it is often caused by birth injuries. It is important to understand what could have happened during the birthing process that could lead to a diagnosis of cerebral palsy. In addition, it is important to know how CP is diagnosed, as well as to learn a little about the needs of children with cerebral palsy.

What Could Happen at Birth That Leads to The Development of Cerebral Palsy?

A birth injury can occur when the baby does not receive enough oxygen during delivery. This lack of oxygen can cause brain damage which can then result in cerebral palsy. Other causes of cerebral palsy include infection in the mother during pregnancy or labor, preterm delivery, and trauma during delivery—such as if forceps were used incorrectly or an overly large baby was delivered without a Cesarean section. Brain damage resulting from these events can cause permanent impairment of motor skills and function leading to cerebral palsy.

How Is CP Diagnosed?

It may take months—or even years—for a child to be diagnosed with cerebral palsy. Because symptoms can be subtle and vary significantly from person to person, diagnosing CP requires careful medical observation and testing over time. These tests may include but are not limited to:

  • Physical exams that assess muscle tone, coordination, movement, and mobility

  • Radiological imaging tests, such as MRIs, that look at how the brain is functioning

  • Blood tests

  • Genetic testing

  • Hearing assessments

  • Vision screenings

In many cases, diagnosing cerebral palsy requires the input of several healthcare providers, including primary care physicians, neurologists, and others.

What Needs Will a Child With Cerebral Palsy Have?

The needs of a child with cerebral palsy will vary depending on the severity and type of their disability. Generally speaking, children with CP may need speech therapy and physical therapy in order to help them develop skills needed for daily activities like walking and talking. They may also need occupational therapy in order to increase their independence when performing activities like eating and dressing themselves. In addition, some children may need additional support services like special education programs or even assistive technology devices like wheelchairs or walkers in order for them to get around more easily. 

It is important for pregnant women and parents of children with CP alike to understand what could happen at birth that leads to the development of this disorder. Additionally, it is necessary for them to be cognizant about how CP is diagnosed in order that they are able recognize any potential warning signs early on and seek medical attention quickly should they arise.

Contact a Chicago Birth Injury Lawyer

If your child is showing possible signs that they have cerebral palsy, contact an experienced Illinois birth injury attorney to discuss your available options. Call 312-462-4200 to schedule a free consultation with the team at Birth Injury Law Alliance, Ltd.. We will help you understand the situation and work with you to get the best care possible for your child. We can also assist you in taking action against any medical professionals whose negligence may have contributed to your child’s condition.

Sources:

https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/cp/diagnosis.html

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/cerebral-palsy/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20354005

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