Diagnosis & Tests

If you are concerned about your child's development, see your GP, who can refer you to a paediatrician (a doctor who specialises in the treatment of children).

Cerebral Palsy

Diagnosis

If you are concerned about your child's development, see your GP, who can refer you to a paediatrician (a doctor who specialises in the treatment of children).

The paediatrician will ask you about your child's history and their pattern of development. They will also study your child's reflexes, posture, motor skills and muscle tone.

Depending on your child's age, you may also be referred to an educational psychologist so your child's intellectual development can be assessed.

Testing

Further tests may be recommended to rule out other conditions which cause similar symptoms to cerebral palsy, such as a tumour or muscular dystrophy (a genetic condition affecting the development of the muscles).

In some cases, further testing will also be able to confirm a diagnosis of cerebral palsy. This is because the condition can cause changes to the structure of the brain, which can be detected by the tests.

Tests your child may require include:

  • Blood tests.
  • Cranial ultrasound, which uses sound waves to build up a picture of your child's brain tissue.
  • MRI scan, which uses radio and magnetic waves to study the brain in more detail.
  • CT scan, which uses a series of X-rays that are then assembled by a computer to create a detailed.

3-D Model of your Child's Brain


While a confident diagnosis of cerebral palsy can usually be made when your child is two or three years old, the type and severity of your child's cerebral palsy may not be determined until they reach four or five years of age.