Cerebral palsy dramatically impacts the portion of the population that suffers from it. It can be caused both by inherent malformations in the brain and by a brain injury that occurs later. Sometimes it is easy to pinpoint which of these is to blame, but in many cases, it is never known exactly what causes cerebral palsy to develop. It is important for parents to know what symptoms are linked to the disorder.

It is also important to investigate the cause of the disorder if your child is, in fact, diagnosed with cerebral palsy. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, one in every 323 children is diagnosed with cerebral palsy, and unfortunately, it is sometimes caused by injuries that occur at birth.

Exaggerated reflexes

One of the first symptoms of cerebral palsy that parents may notice is the presence of exaggerated reflexes. This often manifests in infants in the form of an overactive tendency to startle. This symptom may carry through to childhood and be accompanied by other exaggerated reflexes such as jerk movements in response to stimuli. 

Limited motor skills

One of the primary effects of cerebral palsy is the detriment it has on a child’s motor skills. This can show up in a variety of ways. One common component is the presence of dysphagia—or difficulty with chewing and swallowing any food or drink. Other examples of limited motor skills include an inability to grasp objects and struggling with coordinated movements such as walking.

Muscle spasms

Cerebral palsy significantly impacts the muscles. This is evident in many ways, including muscles that are either overly rigid or seemingly limp. Children with cerebral palsy are also likely to suffer from hypertonia, or muscle spasms, which are painful in some cases. There are some treatment options available for symptoms of cerebral palsy that affect muscle functions.