The process for diagnosing Cerebral Palsy is not a simple one. CP is a complex condition impacting each person differently; it cannot be overstated the unique, person-specific nature Cerebral Palsy has. Due to associative conditions that may be more pronounced, diagnosing CP may not even be on the radar of parents or doctors due to overlapping symptoms or a lack of awareness. However, getting your child a Cerebral Palsy diagnosis may be a crucial step in not only understanding his or her challenges, but also getting help in limiting how much CP impacts their life today and for decades to come.
The first step (figuratively and, as you can see below, literally) in a Cerebral Palsy diagnosis may, in fact, be your own ‘gut feeling’ or observations. Missed milestones are often the first red flag a parent may identify when trying to better understand their child and if ‘something is wrong.’ While challenges associated with Cerebral Palsy may be physical, verbal, mental, etc., parents should take action if they feel their child is not taking on challenges at the rate expected. This does not mean that every child should hit these milestones – children develop in different ways and some may come earlier or later. Instead, diagnosing Cerebral Palsy is sometimes only possible due to parents taking action and scheduling appointments for medical assessment.
This process of taking action can be extensive. The months it can take to schedule appointments, receive assessments, request a second opinion… the process can be exhausting but is essential. We have highlighted a 12-Step Diagnostic Process regarding Cerebral Palsy that highlights, in detail, the various components and requirements associated. Those 12 steps include:
- Step 1: Parental Observation
- Step 2: Clinical Observations
- Step 3: Motor Skill Development Analysis
- Step 4: Medical History Review
- Step 5: Documenting Associative Conditions, Co-Mitigating Factors, and Ruling-Out Other Conditions
- Step 6: Obtaining Test Results
- Step 7: Diagnosis
- Step 8: Obtaining a Second Opinion
- Step 9: Determining Cause
- Step 10: Care Team Assembly
- Step 11: Care Plan Creation
- Step 12: Embracing a Life with Cerebral Palsy
Just from reading the title of each step, you can see that diagnosing Cerebral Palsy requires efforts on the part of a team, rather than just a single doctor or the parents themselves. It’s also important to note that a second opinion can be critical; while certain instances of medical malpractice may involve a doctor not wanting to be forthcoming on a Cerebral Palsy diagnosis, other doctors may simply not have the expertise or training to identify and diagnose CP.
Ultimately, your child’s Cerebral Palsy diagnosis should come from a medical professional and not a hunch. Getting your child the medical tests needed to begin ruling out other conditions and determining the severity and cause are critical parts of a Cerebral Palsy diagnosis that can greatly influence your child’s potential and future. For more information on getting started with your child’s diagnosis, call our care team at (800) 692-4453(800) 692-4453 FREE (or online). We have a wealth of FREE resources, including eBooks, aimed at helping you during this critical time for your child.