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Cerebral palsy: Understanding the signs and symptoms

Many people in Arizona have likely heard of cerebral palsy. Often caused before or during the birth process, cerebral palsy is a condition defined by slowness in the brain that makes it difficult for a person to control his or her muscles. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately one in 323 children in the United States have cerebral palsy.

Although there is currently no cure for cerebral palsy, being aware of the signs and symptoms can help concerned parents recognize it in their child sooner than later because there are treatments that can make the condition more manageable.

The symptoms and signs of cerebral palsy vary depending on the age of the child. If you know what to look for, however, you can recognize them in infants younger than 6 months. Common symptoms for children who are 6 months or younger include: stiffening and crossing legs when you pick him or her up, overall stiffness in the body, overall floppiness in the body, lagging head when the child is picked up.

For children who are between 6 and 10 months, the signs change. You may notice your child does not roll over or only reaches toward you with one hand while the other stays in a fist. A child with cerebral palsy may have trouble moving his or her hands up to the mouth or bringing the hands toward each other.

Finally, for babies older than 10 months, you may notice symptoms in the way your child crawls. Some babies who have cerebral palsy have a lopsided crawl. One hand and leg may to most of the work while the others drag behind. Others may avoid crawling at all, instead moving around in a seated position or scooting on his or her knees.

If you believe your child has symptoms of cerebral palsy, it is important to contact a doctor immediately for screening. If your child does have cerebral palsy, understanding what caused it may be important.

While it is not always the case, some instances of cerebral palsy are caused by medical malpractice during birth. An experienced attorney can help you investigate whether the negligence of the hospital or a specific medical professional may have caused your child's condition. If medical malpractice did play a role in your child's injuries, you may be entitled to compensation.

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