Preparing for your appointment

If your child has cerebral palsy, how you learn about your child's condition may depend on the severity of the disabilities, when problems first appeared, and whether there were any risk factors during pregnancy or delivery.

What you can do

  • Write down current symptoms, even if some may seem unrelated to your child's cerebral palsy concerns.
  • Make a list of all your or your child's medications, vitamins and supplements.
  • Bring any clinical notes, scans, laboratory test results or other information from your primary care provider to your Mayo Clinic caregivers.
  • Write down your or your child's key medical information, including other conditions.
  • Write down key personal information, including any recent changes or stressors in your child's life.
  • Write down questions to ask your doctor.
  • Ask a relative or friend to accompany you, to help you remember what your doctor says.

What to expect from your doctor

Your doctor may ask you several questions during appointments, including:

  • What concerns do you have about your child's growth or development?
  • How well does he or she eat?
  • How does your child respond to touch?
  • Do you observe any favoring of one side of the body?
  • Is your child reaching certain milestones in development, such as rolling over, pushing up, sitting up, crawling, walking or speaking?

Questions to ask your doctor

If your family doctor or pediatrician believes that your child exhibits signs of cerebral palsy, you may want to discuss the following questions:

  • What diagnostic tests will we need?
  • When will we know the results of the tests?
  • What specialists will we need to see?
  • How will we screen for disorders commonly associated with cerebral palsy?
  • How will you monitor my child's health and development?
  • Can you suggest educational materials and local support services regarding cerebral palsy?
  • Can my child be followed through a multidisciplinary program that addresses all of his or her needs on the same visit, such as a cerebral palsy clinic?

What you can do in the meantime

Well-baby visits

It's important to take your child to all regularly scheduled well-baby visits and annual appointments during childhood. These visits are an opportunity for your child's doctor to monitor your child's development in key areas, including:

  • Growth
  • Muscle tone
  • Muscle strength
  • Coordination
  • Posture
  • Age-appropriate motor skills
  • Sensory abilities, such as vision, hearing and touch
Aug. 25, 2016
References
  1. Cerebral palsy: Hope through research. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/cerebral_palsy/detail_cerebral_palsy.htm. Accessed May 20, 2016.
  2. Shelov SP, et al. Developmental disabilities. In: Caring for Your Baby and Young Child: Birth to Age 5. 6th ed. New York, N.Y.: Bantam Books; 2014.
  3. Miller G. Epidemiology and etiology of cerebral palsy. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed May 20, 2016.
  4. Miller G. Diagnosis and classification of cerebral palsy. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed June 1, 2016.
  5. Miller G. Clinical features and classification of cerebral palsy. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed May 20, 2016.
  6. Rubella: Make sure your child gets vaccinated. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/Features/Rubella/. Accessed June 2, 2016.
  7. Chickenpox (varicella). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/chickenpox/about/overview.html. Accessed June 2, 2016.
  8. Cytomegalovirus (CMV) and congenital CMV infection: Pregnancy. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/cmv/risk/preg-women.html. Accessed June 2, 2016.
  9. Parasites: Toxoplasmosis (toxoplasma infection). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/parasites/toxoplasmosis/. Accessed June 2, 2016.
  10. Syphilis: CDC fact sheet. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/std/syphilis/STDFact-Syphilis.htm. Accessed June 2, 2016.
  11. Meningitis. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/meningitis/index.html. Accessed June 2, 2016.
  12. Neurological diagnostic tests and procedures. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/misc/diagnostic_tests.htm. Accessed June 2, 2016.
  13. Miller G. Management and prognosis of cerebral palsy. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed June 2, 2016.
  14. Riggin EA. Decision Support System. Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. May 9, 2016.
  15. Kotagal S (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. June 15, 2016.
  16. Genital herpes: CDC fact sheet. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/std/herpes/STDFact-herpes-detailed.htm. Accessed June 2, 2016.
  17. Causes and risk factors of cerebral palsy. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/cp/causes.html. Accessed June 2, 2016.
  18. Wang X, et al. Effect of umbilical cord mesenchymal stromal cells on motor functions of identical twins with cerebral palsy: Pilot study on the correlation of efficacy and hereditary factors. Cytotherapy. 2015;17:224.
  19. AskMayoExpert. Cerebral palsy. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2014.
  20. Zali A, et al. Intrathecal injection of CD133-positive enriched bone marrow progenitor cells in children with cerebral palsy: Feasibility and safety. Cytotherapy. 2015;17:232.
  21. Seruya M, et al. Surgical treatment of pediatric upper limb spasticity: The shoulder. Seminars in Plastic Surgery. 2016;30:45.
  22. Bloom JA, et al. Microcephaly in infants and children: Etiology and evaluation. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed August 2, 2016.
  23. Microcephaly: WHO fact sheet. World Health Organization. http://who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/microcephaly/en/. Accessed June 2, 2016.