By Neil Osterweil
If men are from Mars and women are from Venus, then teenagers
must be from a galaxy far, far, away indeed.
At least it can seem that way when parents and adolescents try
to communicate with one another. Sometimes, in the heat of an argument or even
a casual how-was-your-day conversation, that kid slouching in the corner can
seem like a speck floating in the void millions of light years away.
It's not that parents and their adolescent offspring can't
communicate, but that...
Sometimes symptoms may not appear until the nervous
system matures with the continual growth of the brain, nerves, and muscles. It
can take up to a few years before doctors determine whether a baby with body
movement and posture (motor) problems has CP.
Cerebral palsy is
diagnosed based on observations of a baby's or young child's physical
development delays or irregularities, medical history, a physical exam,
screening tests, and other tests, such as MRI. Specifically, these tests
physical exam to look for signs of CP. During a
physical exam, a doctor evaluates whether a child retains
newborn reflexes longer than normal, which can be an
indication of CP. Postures and basic muscle function, hearing, and vision are
usually also assessed.
Screening tests. Developmental questionnaires and other tests help determine the
extent of developmental delays and whether they should be further
Taken together, results of these tests can point to
a diagnosis of CP.3
If diagnosis is
unclear, additional tests may be done to evaluate the brain and possibly rule
out other conditions. Sometimes, results from these tests can also be useful in
evaluating the severity of CP. Tests may include:
is diagnosed, a child will also be checked for
other medical conditions that can occur with cerebral
palsy, such as:
Other developmental delays in addition to
those that have already been identified. Developmental abilities will be
assessed periodically to find out whether new symptoms, such as speech and
language delay, appear as a child's nervous system matures.