Signs of Cerebral Palsy in 1-YO Children
Cerebral palsy is a developmental disorder which manifests itself in limited motor control and movement issues. The root cause of cerebral palsy is damage to a child’s developing brain, usually caused by a lack of oxygen (hypoxia) during pregnancy, labor, or shortly after birth.
While severe cases are usually diagnosed within the first 6 months, those with less-severe effects may be more-difficult to accurately diagnose until they reach one to three years of age. Often, one of the first signs of cerebral palsy (or other neurological disorders) may be delays in reaching developmental milestones at around one year old.
Here are a few signs that your 1-year-old child may have cerebral palsy:
- By age 1, your child should be able to get into a sitting position without your help. Since CP affects muscle tone, your child may not be able to sit up straight by themselves, and they may hold on to an object such as a couch, table, stool or another person while seated for balance.
- A child of this age may be able to take a few steps unaided. If your child is still crawling or not trying to walk, you may need to have them evaluated by a developmental pediatrician.
- A child 12 months old should be able to use a “pincer grasp” (thumb and forefinger) to pick up or hold small objects. This is a sign that their muscles are working as they should, and that their brain is sending correct signals to the muscles.
- A 1-year-old child should be able to use simple gestures such as shaking their head to indicate no or nodding for yes. Paresis (muscle weakness) in the neck—especially if the child is unable to support his or her head—can be a strong indicator of cerebral palsy.
- One-year-old children are generally able to imitate speech. Because vocal cords are controlled by the relaxation and contraction of muscle groups inside the throat, failing to verbalize by this age could be an indicator of cerebral palsy.
In some cases, cerebral palsy is the direct result of medical negligence on the part of the physician, a nurse, or another healthcare provider. In other cases, it is the result of an unavoidable circumstance during the child’s development that no one could have prevented.
There are more treatment options today than there ever have been before, including innovative physical therapies, cutting-edge medications, and other resources that can help children with cerebral palsy enjoy a rich quality-of-life, and quite often, help them to achieve a greater level of independence than they would be able to otherwise.
If you suspect that your child is showing signs of cerebral palsy, discuss your concerns with your pediatrician. If your child has developed cerebral palsy that you believe was the result of a birth injury or medical negligence, you have every right to discuss your case with a cerebral palsy lawyer in order to determine the options available to your family moving forward.