The signs of cerebral palsy usually appear in the early months of life, although specific diagnosis may be delayed until age two years or later.
Infants with CP frequently have developmental delay, in which they are slow to reach developmental milestones such as learning to roll over, sit, crawl, or walk.
Some infants with CP have abnormal muscle tone. Decreased muscle tone (hypotonia) can make them appear relaxed, even floppy. Increased muscle tone (hypertonia) can make them seem stiff or rigid. In some cases, an early period of hypotonia will progress to hypertonia after the first 2 to 3 months of life.
Children with CP may also have unusual posture or favor one side of the body when they reach, crawl, or move. It is important to note that some children without CP also might have some of these signs.
Some early warning signs:
In a Baby Younger Than 6 Months of Age:
- His head lags when you pick him up while he’s lying on his back
- He feels stiff
- He feels floppy
- When you pick him up, his legs get stiff and they cross or scissor
In a Baby Older Than 6 Months of Age:
- She doesn’t roll over in either direction
- She cannot bring her hands together
- She has difficulty bringing her hands to her mouth
- She reaches out with only one hand while keeping the other fisted
In a Baby Older Than 10 Months of Age:
- He crawls in a lopsided manner, pushing off with one hand and leg while dragging the opposite hand and leg
- He cannot stand holding onto support