Cerebral Palsy Tests – Diagnosing Cerebral Palsy

Determining if a child has cerebral palsy (CP) is hard to do.  The easiest way to diagnosis a child is to run tests in order to rule out other conditions.  The reason for this is because other conditions can have the same symptoms.  Tests will be given so they can determine if your child has CP. 

Although there is not one test to determine CP on its own, however doctors will run a series of tests so they can rule out other conditions.  A main symptom of is the delay of their development and for this reason is why doctors usually use tests of motor skills.  This way they can see if the child is meeting the developmental milestones.

Cerebral Palsy Tests: Looking for Brain Damage

All the causes of CP have yet to be discovered, however the number one cause of it is damage done to the brain.  How the brain damage occurs is not known but most of the time it happens during the development of the fetus.  The other part the time brain damage can happen during the birth of your child up to early childhood.

To identify damaged to the brain doctors perform brain scans.  Types of brain scans include:

  • Cranial ultrasound- this test is given when a baby is born before 37 weeks.   Using this imaging method can show the soft tissues of the brain.
  • Computed tomography, (CT scan) – this is used to be able to see a picture of the brain from many different positions.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging, (MRI) – The use of magnets and radio waves to allow a more detail image of the brain.
  • Electroencephalogram, (EEG) – is used to measure electrical activity in the brain and is performed on babies that have had seizures.

Other CP Tests

Additional tests that may help to determine or rule out a cerebral palsy diagnosis include:

  • Blood tests
  • Genetic tests
  • Metabolic tests
  • Vision and hearing testing

Each test used to diagnose your child depends on the symptoms.    

After the Tests: What Next?

Cerebral palsy tests only diagnose the child it does not tell us why your child developed the condition.  Most of the time it is not clear what caused the condition, however, if it was due to medical negligence the evidence will be clear.  Some questions to think about if your child has CP.

  • Was your baby born after a difficult labor?
  • Did you child get enough oxygen at all times during labor and delivery?
  • Was there a use of forceps, other related instruments or unnecessary force used during delivery?

There are other forms of neglect not mentioned above so if you have any questions regarding your child’s condition and the delivery you can seek the professional advice of a medical malpractice attorney.  They will evaluate your case for free and advise you of your legal rights.