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Cerebral Palsy Diagnosis - Medical Negligence Solicitor - Compensation Lawyers

If you would like legal advice at no cost on personal injury compensation claims just use the helpline, complete the contact form or email our offices and a specialist medical negligence solicitor will telephone you with no further obligation. Following a review of the circumstances of the injury and of the medical records including the cerebral palsy diagnosis you will be advised whether your child has a reasonable claim and if so, what steps you should take to protect your legal right to receive compensation. All of our lawyers use no win no fee arrangements to represent their clients which means that if your solicitor doesn't achieve a compensation settlement following a diagnosis of cerebral palsy then he doesn't get paid his professional costs and the client does not receive a bill for legal costs.

Our medical negligence solicitors have offices situated in Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra, Melbourne, Perth, Darwin, and Sydney. Do yourself justice - give us a call.

The process of cerebral palsy diagnosis takes time. It is common for a doctor to take several months to make a clear cerebral palsy diagnosis and even instruct parents to wait for up to three years before making a final decision. Even when a diagnosis is reached, doctors will often not issue a definitive prognosis immediately. This is due mainly in part to recovery of the child’s central nervous system, either partially or completely, following an injury.


The brains of young children are much more capable of repairing themselves than brains of adults. Should a brain injury happen early in life, the undamaged area of the brain might repair the damage by, in some cases, taking over some of the compromised functions. Even though there may be residual motor impairment, the child is often able to make great strides in developing basic motor skills.


Another reason doctors may delay concluding a cerebral palsy diagnosis is because the nervous system of children tends to “organize” with time. This means brain damage can affect motor abilities quite differently. For example, involuntary movements can become more obvious, or tone can change from low to high, or vice versa. In most cases, a child’s motor skills stabilize by the age of two to three years. After age three, tone will more than likely remain constant.

Early Diagnosis?

This may leave you wondering, what exactly does all of this mean? It merely indicates it is nearly impossible to make an early cerebral palsy diagnosis. The extent of your child’s disability will more than likely not become clear for a long period of time, and his or her symptoms need to monitored by parents and health care professionals. Usually a group of health care professionals that specialize in different areas of cerebral palsy will be in charge of evaluation. These professionals will collect information based upon the child’s age and accomplishments, and then compare these findings over the course of months and years.

Assessment & Evaluation

This information is complied into a report to track the needs and physical condition of the child. The report will also include completed medical tests, as well as documentation of any other possible medical explanations for the symptoms. When making a diagnosis of cerebral palsy, this team of medical professionals will first conduct a basic assessment to evaluate the child’s precise needs and strengths in all areas of development. As the child continues to age, further assessments are made.

Definitive Diagnosis

A cerebral palsy diagnosis may take time following a thorough examination of the child’s overall health condition. Doctors will regularly test the development of your child’s motor skills and carefully study the medical history. They will be on the lookout for unusual posture, slow development and abnormal muscle tone. When making a definitive diagnosis, doctors have to rule out any other possible medical condition that may cause abnormal muscle movement. Since cerebral palsy is non-progressive, meaning it does not become worse with time; doctors have to verify your child’s issues are not worsening.

Specialist Testing

The process of diagnosing cerebral palsy will involve specialized tests. The doctor may order a CT (computed tomography) scan, which provides an image of the brain that can identify undeveloped or poorly developed brain tissue areas. The doctor may also order an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) test, which also provides an image of the brain that can be used to view damaged areas. Along with imaging tests, intelligence tests may also be conducted. These tests help to determine how the child compares mentally to other children of a similar age. A complete review of the mother’s health during pregnancy, along with the labour and delivery process, may also be carried out.

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The author of the substantive medical writing on this website is Dr. Christine Traxler MD whose biography can be read here