Cerebral palsy is a neurological disorder that affects movement and coordination. It is the most common motor disability in childhood, with a prevalence of about 2.2 per 1,000 live births worldwide. While the condition may manifest at different stages of life, it often originates during infancy or early childhood. This article aims to shed light on the key symptoms of cerebral palsy in infants, helping parents and caregivers identify potential signs and seek early intervention.
Types of Cerebral Palsy
Cerebral palsy is classified into different types based on the areas of the brain that are affected. The three main types of cerebral palsy are:
Spastic Cerebral Palsy
Spastic cerebral palsy is the most common type, accounting for about 70-80% of cases. It is characterized by increased muscle tone, causing stiffness and difficulties with movement. Infants with spastic cerebral palsy may exhibit stiff and jerky movements, muscle tightness, and may struggle to reach developmental milestones such as rolling over, crawling, or walking.
Dyskinetic Cerebral Palsy
Dyskinetic cerebral palsy, also known as athetoid or choreoathetoid cerebral palsy, is characterized by uncontrolled and involuntary movements. Infants with dyskinetic cerebral palsy may display slow or writhing movements of the arms, legs, and face. These movements can interfere with activities such as grasping objects, sitting, and speaking.
Ataxic Cerebral Palsy
Ataxic cerebral palsy is the least common type, affecting approximately 5-10% of individuals with cerebral palsy. It primarily affects balance and coordination. Infants with ataxic cerebral palsy may have difficulty maintaining balance, may appear unsteady while sitting or walking, and may have shaky hand movements.
Common Symptoms of Cerebral Palsy in Infants
The symptoms of cerebral palsy in infants can vary depending on the type and severity of the condition. However, there are some common signs that parents and caregivers should be aware of:
Infants with cerebral palsy may experience delays in reaching developmental milestones. They may be slower to roll over, sit up, crawl, or walk compared to their peers. Parents should pay attention to these delays and consult with a healthcare professional if they have concerns.
Abnormal Muscle Tone
Irregular muscle tone is a hallmark symptom of cerebral palsy. Infants with cerebral palsy may exhibit either increased muscle tone (spasticity) or decreased muscle tone (hypotonia). Spasticity can cause stiff and jerky movements, while hypotonia may result in floppy or limp muscles.
Difficulties with coordination and motor control are common in infants with cerebral palsy. They may have trouble grasping objects, bringing their hands to their mouths, or coordinating movements between their arms and legs.
Reflex problems can be observed in infants with cerebral palsy. Some infants may have overactive reflexes, causing exaggerated responses to stimuli. Others may have diminished reflexes or a lack of response.
Oral Motor Difficulties
Cerebral palsy can also affect oral motor function, leading to challenges with feeding, swallowing, and speaking. Infants may have difficulty coordinating their tongue and mouth muscles, resulting in feeding difficulties or unintelligible speech sounds.
If parents or caregivers observe signs of cerebral palsy, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional who can conduct a thorough evaluation and recommend appropriate interventions to enhance the child’s development and quality of life. With early intervention and ongoing therapy, children with cerebral palsy can achieve their full potential and lead fulfilling lives. Consulting with cerebral palsy lawyers at BIL Group can provide insight into legal options for recompense.
As a journalist, Leland Bengtson dedicated most of his career to law reporting. His greatest satisfaction is to convey legal matters to the public in a language that they can understand. He is active on various platforms and media outlets, writing about common legal issues that people confront with every day. While medical malpractice is his strong suit, Leland covers plenty of other topics, including personal injury cases, family law, and other civil and even criminal legal matters.