Many behavioral characteristics are indicative for the early detection and diagnosis of CP (Table III). However, the diagnosis of CP is a complicated one, often determined by physical exam in conjunction with a thorough medical history, neurological exam, and the exclusion of differential diagnoses. Currently, there is no one test to determine a diagnosis of cerebral palsy.

Table III

Behavioral Characteristics Associated with Cerebral Palsy"

Less than 6 months

High-pitched cry Oral hypersensitivity Lethargy Irritability

Abnormal primitive reflexes

Diminished head control

Stiff or floppy posturing

Inability to perform age-appropriate motor skills (e.g., rolling by 4 to 5 months)

6 months to toddler

Instability in sitting Oral hypersensitivity W-sitting

Excessive arching of the back

Inability to perform age-appropriate motor skills (e.g., sitting by 7 months)

"Adapted from Dzienkowski et al., Nurse Practitioner 21(2), 4559 (1996).

In addition, initially identified motor impairments may change across the child's life span, thus adding to the difficulty of diagnosis. It is presumed that maturation of the basal ganglia and neuronal myelination must occur prior to the emergence of spasticity, dystonia, and athetosis. Therefore, the clinical signs displayed by the child may change over time. In the early 1980s, Nelson and Ellenberg found that 118 of 229 children diagnosed with CP at 1 year were free of motor handicaps by age 7. Caution is therefore advised regarding definitive diagnoses and subsequent prediction of outcomes at a young age.

Understanding And Treating Autism

Understanding And Treating Autism

Whenever a doctor informs the parents that their child is suffering with Autism, the first & foremost question that is thrown over him is - How did it happen? How did my child get this disease? Well, there is no definite answer to what are the exact causes of Autism.

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