Cerebral Palsy: Signs and Symptoms

Even though it may not be noticeable cerebral palsy is present at birth. Parents and caregivers may not notice the signs until the child becomes a toddler.  This usually happens as they notice their child failing to reach the developmental milestones reached by other children.


The signs of cerebral palsy usually show up between the ages of one and three years old.  Each child’s case is unique and their impairments may be minor or they can be very significant.

Parents and caregivers often are the first to notice developmental delays that may be early signs of cerebral palsy because they are the ones who spend the most time with the child. They know the child, so they know when things are not as they should be.

Signs can include:

  • Abnormal muscle tone: Smaller muscles in affected arms and legs because the affected limbs are inactive and activity affects muscle growth.
  • Abnormal movements: Children with cerebral palsy may exhibit stiff, poorly-controlled movements. This is called spasticity. These problems can range from small problems, such as having difficulty with fine motor tasks, to larger ones: being unable to walk or maintain balance. Children with cerebral palsy may also exhibit poor head control and difficulty swallowing or suckling.
  • Abnormal sensations: Children with CP often experience an impaired sense of touch and unusual sensitivity to pain. Things that should not hurt – such as tooth brushing – often do.
  • Accidents: Because of impaired motor function, children with cerebral palsy may fall more than other children. They also may have seizures, which can lead to accidental injuries.

Associated Impairments of Kids with Cerebral Palsy

Birth Injuries + Pregnancy-Related Injuries


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