How to Know If Your Child Has Cerebral Palsy?

| Updated on March 27, 2024

If you have a child and are concerned that they may have cerebral palsy, there are some signs you can look for. Reports state that approximately 500,000 children who have not reached their 18th birthday have cerebral palsy. It is a neurological issue that affects movement and muscle coordination.

It can result in problems with walking, talking, and eating. This article will discuss cerebral palsy symptoms and how to get help if you think your child may have it.

Uneven Muscle Tone

Muscles are the primary tissues in the body that enable movement. If a child has cerebral palsy, their muscles will be weaker on one side of the body or in areas, such as the hands or feet. It can result in limbs that feel floppy or rigid.

The level of muscle weakness can range from mild to severe. In some cases, it may only be noticeable when your child is tired. For example, you can notice it when they are trying to walk up a hill, and their steps become shorter on one side.

Cerebral palsy can also cause problems with a child’s posture and balance. They may have difficulty sitting up straight or keeping their head up. When they walk, their steps may be unsteady or jerky.

If you notice uneven muscle tone in your child, it’s essential to talk to your doctor. They can help you determine if your child has cerebral palsy or another condition.

Poor Balance and Coordination

Do you notice your kid falling more often than other kids the same age? Do they seem uncoordinated or clumsy? It could be a sign of CP.

CP is caused by damage to the brain’s motor control centers during pregnancy, childbirth, or in the first few years of life. This damage can cause problems with muscle tone, movement, and coordination.

Involuntary Movements or Spasms

When a kid has cerebral palsy, their muscles can contract involuntarily. It can cause spasms or jerky movements. Spasticity is the most common type of involuntary movement in kids with cerebral palsy. It happens when the muscles are too tight and have trouble relaxing.

Dystonia is another type of involuntary movement. It usually affects the muscles in the hands, arms, or legs. The muscles might twist involuntarily or make repetitive movements.

Ataxia affects the way the body moves and coordinates its muscles. Kids with ataxia might seem clumsy or unsteady on their feet.

Slow Movement

Toddlers and young children with cerebral palsy often take longer to start walking than their peers. They may also crawl on their toes or bottom instead of their hands and knees. As the kids get older, they may continue to have trouble with fine motor skills such as writing and buttoning shirts.

If you’re concerned about your child’s movement, talk to a therapist immediately.

Delayed Motor Skills Development

  • Motor development skills include:
  • lifting the head 
  • sitting up 
  • crawling and walking. 

If a child is not meeting these milestones, it could be one of the cerebral palsy symptoms. However, it’s vital to remember that every child develops differently. If you have any concerns about your child’s development, talk to your pediatrician.

Difficulty Crawling or Walking.

Babies start crawling at the age of seven to ten months. If your baby isn’t reaching this milestone, talk to your doctor. Also, if your child is walking but their gait is abnormal, that’s another potential sign of CP.

Abnormal Posture, Such as a Curved Back or Twisted Neck

The posture of a child with cerebral palsy may be abnormal. It can include a curved back or twisted neck. The child may also hold their head at an unusual angle.

Some children with a cerebral palsy walk on their toes. Some children might use a walker or other device to help them move around. Others might have a “scissor” gait, where their legs cross over each other when they walk.

If your child has any of the symptoms mentioned above, talk to your doctor. They can refer you to a CP specialist for complete testing.

Tremors, Especially in the Hands

Tremors are not always easy to spot. It happens mainly because of damage to the cerebellum, responsible for muscle coordination. If you notice your child’s hands shaking or trembling, it could signify cerebral palsy. 

If your child has cerebral palsy, they may have problems with: 

  • Feeding themselves
  • Brushing their teeth
  • Doing up buttons 

Speech Problems

Finally, another common symptom of cerebral palsy is difficulty with speech. It can manifest as slurred speech or problems with volume or pitch control. If your child has trouble communicating, it could signify cerebral palsy. 


If a kid has any of the risk factors for cerebral palsy, or if they display any symptoms of the condition, it’s essential to talk to a doctor. An early diagnosis can make a big difference in treatment and prognosis.

Priyam Ghosh

Tech and Internet Writer

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