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Recognizing the symptoms of cerebral palsy

New parents are careful to monitor their child's growth and development, placing a special emphasis on the early detection of serious medical conditions like cerebral palsy. When it comes to recognizing warning signs of serious childhood disabilities, knowledge is power.

Early warning signs of cerebral palsy include:

  • Poor muscle control
  • Low muscle tone
  • The head lagging when the baby is picked up
  • Irritability and difficulty sleeping
  • Poor visual attention
  • Lopsided crawling
  • Difficulty touching the hands together
  • Difficulty bringing the hand to the mouth

Symptoms of cerebral palsy can appear as soon as one month after the birth of the child, although it often takes longer than that to diagnose. Hypoxia, or lack of oxygen to the brain during childbirth, is a leading cause of cerebral palsy. Brain damage can occur prior to, during or after childbirth. While some cases of cerebral palsy are unavoidable, many are the direct result of medical negligence.

Parents should consult with a physician as soon as they notice even the slightest warning sign. It could be a symptom of cerebral palsy or it could be something else, but early detection and treatment are key to the child's well being. 

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