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Clinical features general to cerebral palsy

Last reviewed dd mmm yyyy. Last edited dd mmm yyyy

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General features which should alert to the possibility of cerebral palsy include, in the first few months of life:

  • poor sucking ability
  • increased or decreased muscle tone
  • abnormal reflexes - persisting beyond the appropriate time
  • irritability
  • convulsions
  • drowsiness

Cerebral palsy is not usually diagnosed until several months have passed, when it becomes apparent that abnormalities in tone are not transient and that motor development may be abnormal and delayed.

Symptoms that may be reported by the parents of an affected infant include:

  • no head control at 3 months
  • not sitting alone at 10 months
  • stiff on handling
  • development of hand preference before one year

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