How is cerebral palsy diagnosed?
A child is usually diagnosed with CP when she’s 6 to 12 months old, since this is the time when she starts missing developmental milestones like walking and controlling her hand and head movements.
The process of diagnosing cerebral palsy begins with a physical examination. During the initial exam, a developmental pediatrician obtains a complete history of the mother’s pregnancy and the child’s birth and infancy.
Next, your child will have these diagnostic tests:
- a neurologic examination to evaluate your child’s reflexes and motor functions
- X-rays, which use invisible electromagnetic energy beams to produce images of internal tissues, bones and organs
- feeding and swallowing studies, which assess how well your child chews, drinks liquids and swallows
- an electroencephalogram (EEG), a procedure that records the brain's continuous electrical activity through electrodes attached to the scalp
- a gait laboratory analysis to evaluate the walking pattern of the child
- Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), which uses a combination of large magnets, radiofrequency waves and a special computer to create detailed pictures of organs and structures within the body
- Computerized Tomography (CT) scans, which use x-rays and computer technology to produce cross-sectional images of any part of the body (including bones, muscles and organs)
- genetic studies, which screen for conditions that tend to run in families
- metabolic tests, which detect the absence or insufficiency of specific enzymes (for example, particular amino acids, vitamins or carbohydrates) necessary to maintain normal body functions
|Spotlight on: Gait Laboratory|
Children's Cerebral Palsy Program refers some patients with complex walking problems to a special Gait Laboratory on the grounds of nearby Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital.
For more information, please call 617-573-2203.