Tests for the early detection of cerebral palsy

During routine checkups, a health professional may suspect developmental delays that could be related to cerebral palsy. When this occurs, standard tests often are used to evaluate the child's general development. The following are examples of tests used to assess how closely a child is reaching milestones compared to other children his or her age:

  • Parent Evaluation of Developmental Status (PEDS). This is a simple questionnaire filled out by parents. It can help health professionals identify developmental areas of concern that may need further investigation.
  • Ages and Stages Questionnaires. Parents complete questionnaires to assess their children in a natural environment. The test covers five key developmental areas: communication, gross motor, fine motor, problem solving, and personal-social.
  • Early Motor Pattern Profile (EMPP). This is a short test (15 questions). It is used for children younger than 1 year of age to check for problems with muscle tone, reflexes, and body movements.
  • Testing for motor milestones. This is a simple test that can be done several times during the first 2 years of life. During this test, the health professional checks to see whether the baby has age-appropriate motor skills, such as sitting with and without support, crawling, and walking.

Last Updated: October 14, 2008

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