Medical Professional Publications

Early Diagnosis and Intervention Guidelines for Cerebral Palsy

Columbus, OH — March 2018

While cerebral palsy (CP) diagnoses have traditionally been made at 2 years of age or older, recent studies have shown that specialist providers can make the diagnosis as early as 6 months of age in some cases.

International guidelines for early diagnosis and intervention for cerebral palsy were published in 2017. Developed by a multidisciplinary group of scientific and clinical experts and parent stakeholders, these guidelines are based on the latest systematic review of the evidence. They state that early recognition of CP can and should occur as early as possible so that:

  • The infant can receive diagnostic-specific early intervention and surveillance to optimize neuroplasticity and prevent complications.
  • The parents can receive psychological and financial support, if available.

Specialists now have the standardized tools to diagnose early and the knowledge base to recognize which interventions will be helpful in infancy. Pediatric practitioners, as the medical home for these children, have a critical role in the early recognition of CP.

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