Cerebral palsy can be referred to as a neurological indication, associated with loss of body movements and lack of muscle coordination. The disease can affect children at their infancy or early childhood due to a variety of reasons, such as oxygen deprivation at birth, high blood pressure of a mother during pregnancy, faulty labor, etc. It has been evident so far that children with the severe form of cerebral palsy are born with the disease and symptoms are evident then and there; however, for kids with the milder form of the disability, it is quite possible that symptoms may not be exhibited for months. Thus, it is very crucial as parents to understand that their child is missing any one of the developmental milestones; and if it is so, they should immediately inform their concerns to pediatrics.
Experts as well agree that early detection of progressive diseases, like cerebral palsy can help them in early diagnosis; engaging a child in early detection programs for better outcomes. Although, confirming cerebral palsy can involve many steps; monitoring the key milestones should be at the forefront of priorities, such as:
· Abnormal Muscular tone: – Normal muscular tone, allows a child’s limb to bend and contract without difficulty; supporting it to sit, stand and maintain posture without assistance. Whereas a child with CP may demonstrate increased and/or decreased muscle tones, abnormally bad movements, improper motion due to fused joints.
· Movement, coordination and control: – A child with CP may exhibit hypertonic, fluctuating, scissoring of the legs, poor balance and lack of coordination, disturbances in gait as well as posture, etc. Thus, rolling, sitting, crawling, standing, etc. to assess significant milestones.
· Fine motor functions: – Fine motor functions comprises the execution of precise movements such as grasping small objects, gentle settlement of objects, turning pages of the book, etc.
· Oral motor functions: – If a child is having difficulty in using lips, tongue and jaw indicating a cause of concern, such as speaking, swallowing, feeding, chewing, drooling, etc.
· Balance: – The impaired gross motor function can have a severe impact on a child’s ability to sit and maintain a balance, indicating it to be a cause of concern. Thus, if a child is using both hands for support, while sitting or needing assistance for performing the task that requires balance and walking with abnormal posture; it should be immediately noted as an alarming indication.
· Reflexes: – Certain abnormal reflexes can be noted as warning signs such as excessive reflex responses, lack of protective reflexes, abnormal posture reflexes, etc.
Some of the associative conditions can as well be visibly expressed at birth such as sensory impairments, seizures, learning disabilities, etc.