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Cerebral palsy

Diagnosing cerebral palsy

Diagnosing cerebral palsy often begins during routine well-child visits. At each visit, your pediatrician evaluates your child for developmental milestones, such as crawling and walking. If your child misses developmental milestones or shows signs of motor coordination problems, your doctor may perform a special physical exam to evaluate your child’s muscle tone and reflexes. Your doctor may evaluate your child for related conditions, such as seizures.

Sometimes, doctors use tests to help rule out other possible causes for a child’s movement disorder. These tests include:

  • Imaging scans of the brain, such as computed tomography (CT)
  • Genetic testing
  • Blood tests

Treatment of cerebral palsy

There is no cure for cerebral palsy, but treatments are available to ease discomfort and improve quality of life.

Treatment focuses on addressing specific cerebral palsy symptoms and providing supportive care to improve the lives of children with cerebral palsy and their families.

Common treatments for cerebral palsy include:

  • Medications to treat pain, muscle spasms, and related conditions such as seizures
  • Cerebral palsy surgery to release tight muscles or correct skeletal abnormalities as necessary
  • Occupational and physical therapy for cerebral palsy to improve muscle tone, flexibility, and motor coordination
  • Speech therapy to improve oral motor skills, swallowing, reduction of drooling, and improved speech
  • Assistive devices, such as braces, wheelchairs, hearing aids, and eyeglasses, to improve quality of life
  • Access to social services to provide support, including specialized programs for children with learning disabilities
  • Ongoing medical monitoring to address related conditions or complications if they arise

Cerebral palsy care at Dignity Health

There are different types of cerebral palsy, and no two cases are alike. Because each person experiences these movement disorders differently, our experts at Dignity Health develop a personalized treatment plan for your child’s unique situation.

Early intervention is crucial so children with cerebral palsy gain access to programs designed to help them overcome developmental delays and learning disabilities. Ongoing medical monitoring helps identify and treat related conditions, such as incontinence or seizures.

Some treatments, including surgery and medications for cerebral palsy, involve some level of risk. Our doctors explain the risks and benefits of any proposed treatment to help you make the right decision for you. They may also put you in contact with a social worker for help connecting to support systems in your community.

Social support in a compassionate environment is an important part of any cerebral palsy care plan. Our experts are happy to talk with you about various cerebral palsy treatment options in CA, NV, and AZ.