Diagnosis and Treatment

How is Cerebral Palsy Diagnosed?

If cerebral palsy is suspected, a doctor will take a comprehensive history and perform a physical examination to check for stiff muscles and abnormal reflexes. Laboratory and neuroimaging studies may also be ordered, such as brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computerized tomography (CT) scan, or electroencephalogram (EEG). These tests are readily available through the Weinberg Family CP Center.

Treatment for Cerebral Palsy

Once the diagnosis is made, our team works closely with family and caregivers to develop a personalized treatment program that maximizes your child’s development and takes into account their needs:

  • Your child's age, overall health, and medical history
  • The extent of the disease
  • The type of cerebral palsy
  • Your child's tolerance for specific medications, procedures, or therapies
  • Expectations for the course of the disease
  • Your opinions or preferences

Due to the complexity of cerebral palsy, coordination of care is of utmost importance. Experts on your child’s team may include physiatrists (rehabilitation medical specialists), neurologists, developmental pediatricians, orthopedists, neurosurgeons, physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech and language pathologists, psychologists, psychiatrists, orthotists, nutritionists, etc.

Cerebral palsy is described using several different classification systems that are shared among multiple medical and allied health care specialties. Some classification systems describe a patient’s functional mobility or movement disorder while others focus on affected body parts. None of these systems address the intellectual capability of the patient, which is frequently normal across all classification levels. The most common term for the classification system is the Gross Motor Function Classification System.