Signs of Cerebral Palsy
A doctor may suspect cerebral palsy if an infant is late in developing basic motor skills such as sitting and walking. This delay in development is a sign of cerebral palsy and a good indicator that cerebral palsy symptoms will follow. When these symptoms show, a diagnosis is further based on physical abnormalities such as irregular movements and reflexes.
Learning problems, seizures
About one-third of children with cerebral palsy have some type of learning problem, and half of them have seizures. Doctors typically hold off on diagnosing cerebral palsy for several months until they can see permanent physical abnormalities.
Tests can help produce an accurate diagnosis of cerebral palsy, but no fool-proof test exists. For example, doctors can analyze blood tests and chromosomes to determine whether the illness is something other than cerebral palsy.
Ruling out other causes
An MRI or CT scan may also be ordered to help rule out other causes of the physical problems. While these tests do not provide a definitive diagnosis one way or the other, they help detect signs of cerebral palsy and aid in its diagnosis—and thus its treatment.