How do doctors diagnose cerebral palsy?
According to the CDC, diagnosing Cerebral Palsy takes place in three steps, including:
- Developmental Monitoring
- Developmental Screening
- Developmental and Medical Evaluations
These steps, which each differ in scope and formality, work together to form an accurate picture of the developmental progress of your child.
What is developmental monitoring?
Developmental monitoring refers to the way your child is growing and developing and how that development compares to expected milestones. Of the 3 steps towards a diagnosis, this is the least formal and can be done not only by healthcare providers and nurses, but also by the parents and other family members or caregivers of the child.
What is developmental screening?
Developmental screening is the next step – after developmental monitoring – in diagnosing a child with cerebral palsy. It consists of a standardized checklist and/or questionnaire which compares your child’s development against a pre-established benchmark. According to The American Academy of Pediatrics, these screenings should occur at 9 months, 18 months, and 24 or 30 months.
What are developmental and medical evaluations?
Developmental and medical evaluations are the final step in the diagnostic process and occur after a developmental screening if that screening indicates a potential problem. This final evaluation is typically administered by a specialist and the result determines whether early intervention services and/or special treatments are required for your child.