The signs of Cerebral Palsy usually appear in the early months of life, although specific diagnosis may be delayed until age two or later. Infants with CP frequently have developmental delays, in which they are slow to reach developmental milestones such as learning to roll over, sit, crawl, or walk. Some infants with CP have abnormal muscle tone. Decreased muscle tone (hypotonia) can make them appear relaxed, or even floppy. Increased muscle tone (hypertonia) can make them seem stiff or rigid. In some cases, an early period of hypotonia will progress to hypertonia after the first 2 to 3 months of life. Children with CP may also have unusual posture or favor one side of the body when they reach, crawl, or move. It is important to note that some children without CP also might have some of these signs.

Some early warning signs:

In a Baby Younger Than 6 Months of Age

  • The head droops when you pick them up while they’re lying on their back
  • They feel stiff
  • They feel floppy
  • When you pick them up, their legs get stiff and their legs cross or scissor

In a Baby Older Than 6 Months of Age

  • They don’t roll over in either direction
  • They cannot bring their hands together
  • They have difficulty bringing their hands to their mouth
  • They reach out with only one hand while keeping the other fisted

In a Baby Older Than 10 Months of Age

  • They crawl in a lopsided manner, pushing off with one hand and leg while dragging the opposite hand and leg

9 Important Facts About Cerebral Palsy