What’s a Cerebral Palsy Eval?

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Cerebral palsy assessment determines the type of cerebral palsy present and helps formulate a treatment plan. There are four types of cerebral palsy, and evaluation involves observing the child’s behavior and developmental tests. Comfort and reevaluation are important.

A cerebral palsy assessment determines what type of cerebral palsy is present by looking at the person’s physical, sensory, perceptual, emotional, cognitive, and social levels of development. An evaluation is needed because cerebral palsy has a wide variety of symptoms and doesn’t affect two people the same way. A treatment and management plan can be formulated after the cerebral palsy assessment has determined the type of cerebral palsy.

Cerebral palsy is an effect of a brain injury suffered by a child before the age of 2. There are four main types of cerebral palsy. Athetoid cerebral palsy has the symptoms of uncontrolled, involuntary movement. Spastic cerebral palsy is distinguished by difficult and stiff movement. Ataxic cerebral palsy causes a disturbance in the sense of depth perception and balance. The fourth type of cerebral palsy is mixed cerebral palsy, which shows any combination of the symptoms of the other types.

Evaluating cerebral palsy involves observing your child’s behavior and focusing on where the limitations emerge. The child is observed in different positions. Physical behaviors your doctor will look for during the evaluation might include involuntary movements, the accuracy of your child’s attempts to hold or let go of objects, and any body parts that remain in the same position when the rest of the body moves to another position .

In addition to observation, evaluation of cerebral palsy might include developmental tests. These tests may include the Pre-Speech Rating Scale, the Denver Developmental Screening Test, and developmental programming for infants and young children. The Pre-Speech Rating Scale examines feeding behavior, breathing-phonation, and sound play in children 2 years of age and younger. The Denver Developmental Screening Test evaluates developmental delays in the areas of gross and fine motor development, language, adaptive behaviors, and social behaviors in children from birth to age 6 years. Developmental programming for infants and toddlers assesses gross and fine motor development, self-care, perceptual development, language, and cognition in children from birth to age 6.

It is very important that the comfort of the child receives a great level of care during the evaluation for cerebral palsy, due to the age of the children during the evaluation and the nature of the symptoms. Reevaluation should be an ongoing part of the treatment plan. It is also important to evaluate the effectiveness of treatments.

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