ZocdocAnswersCan you develop cerebral palsy as an adult or is it always diagnosed in children?

Question

Can you develop cerebral palsy as an adult or is it always diagnosed in children?

I don't think I have cerebral palsy, but I was reading about it and got nervous. Is it always diagnosed in children or can adults get it too? Should I have my 3 year old son tested for it or are there symptoms that would make it clear that he had it?

Answer

If you don't have any clear symptoms that you are worried about, then I would get too worried. Cerebral palsy symptoms are usually pretty obvious - the include things like distortions of the arms and legs due to muscle contractions and spasms, difficulty with walking and talking and balance, and other obvious problems. Cerebral palsy is almost always picked up by a pediatrician early in childhood, and it would be very unusual for it to go undiagnosed into adulthood. With regard to your son, again if there are no symptoms I would not be too worried. Your pediatrician has been watching your son's growth and development closely over the last three years, so if there had been any obvious problems those would have been picked up by now. Often cerebral palsy occurs in the setting of a major problem in the pregnancy or birth, such as delayed or difficult labor, premature birth, and the like. For this reason, children who have these risk factors are followed more closely. However, if your son was born full term without any problems, then the likelihood of cerebral palsy is very low. Nevertheless, for peace of mind it's best to address your concerns with your pediatrician!

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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