First signs of cerebral palsy

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.

Last Updated: October 14, 2008

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