Signs of Cerebral Palsy

A number of risk factors can be used to predict children who are at risk of developing cerebral palsy symptoms, including:

    •    Complications during pregnancy
    •    Complications during delivery or labor
    •    Breech birth
    •    Multiple births
    •    Birth defects
    •    Newborn seizures
    •    Low Apgar score

Signs appear before age 3 

The signs of cerebral palsy usually appear in a child with the condition before three years of age. Symptoms can vary from difficulty walking or staying balanced to problems with fine motor skills like writing or buttoning a shirt.

For children with a severe case of this condition, the signs of cerebral palsy may also include involuntary movements, such as drooling or hand movement. Some children may also suffer seizures or mental retardation.

Spastic, athetoid and ataxic

However, some of the potential symptoms depend upon the specific form of the condition a person has. Children with spastic cerebral palsy symptoms have stiffness in the limbs, which can affect just the arms or legs, only one side of the body, all four limbs or in some cases, one or three limbs.

Athetoid cerebral palsy (or dyskenetic cerebral palsy) can cause slow and uncontrollable movement in the feet, arms or legs. People with this form of the condition may also experience quick, jerky movements or slower movements combined with an abnormal muscle tone and an unusual posture.

The symptoms of ataxic cerebral palsy affect balance and depth perception. Because of this, children may be poorly coordinated and have problems walking. In many cases, people with this form of birth injury may have difficulty with quick or precise movements. Unintentional tremors may also occur when reaching for an object.

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