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Cerebral Palsy: Early Signs - Topic Overview

Parents and caregivers are often the first to notice signs of cerebral palsy in a child. Typically, parents suspect a problem when their baby does not reach developmental milestones at predictable times.

Early signs of developmental delays possibly related to cerebral palsy
Age Developmental delay

3 months

Baby does not:

  • Turn to a sudden noise or familiar voice.
  • Follow objects with his or her eyes.
  • Smile or show other facial expressions.

5 months

Baby does not:

  • Hold his or her head straight.
  • Lift his or her head up when pulled from a lying flat position to a sitting position.

6 months

By 6 months: Baby does not roll over.

After 6 months: Baby pushes food out of his or her mouth with the tongue rather than accepting it, as most babies would at this age.

8 months

Baby does not sit without support.

12 months

Baby either does not crawl or crawls dragging one side of the body or both legs.

Before 18 months

Baby always prefers using one hand over the other.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: September 20, 2012
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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