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There are many ways you can help children and their families get the care they need.
If your child has indications of cerebral palsy (CP), it’s important to get a definitive diagnosis. CP evaluation at Boston Children’s provides you and your pediatrician with accurate, objective information about your child’s condition. Addressing symptoms of CP in early childhood—before your child peaks developmentally—is critical to making the most of cerebral palsy treatment.
Our cerebral palsy experts look beyond muscle tone, muscle contractures and your child’s gait and evaluate how they are functioning and developing in their daily life. At Boston Children’s, we treat the whole child, working toward their overall well-being and your dreams for them. Meet our cerebral palsy team.
A child is usually diagnosed with CP when he or she starts missing developmental milestones, such as walking and controlling hand and head movements. This commonly happens between six–24 months, but might not occur until about two years of age.
At Boston Children’s, diagnosing cerebral palsy begins with a physical examination. During this initial exam, a doctor will obtain a complete history of the mother’s pregnancy, the child’s birth and early development and the family history. Your child will also have a neurological examination to evaluate his or her reflexes and motor function, cognitive abilities, behavior, global development, risk for seizures and sleep patterns.
Your child may then have any number of the following diagnostic tests:
We refer selected patients with complex walking problems to a state-of-the-art Gait Laboratory on the grounds of nearby Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, where they undergo an evaluation by expert physiatrists.
Walking analysis at the Gait Laboratory includes:
Our specialists want an accurate picture of your child’s functional motor abilities to ensure the best possible treatment. Our cerebral palsy team uses two important systems to accurately assess and describe your child’s ability to sit and walk (motor skills) and to use his or her hands (manual function).
These systems are useful because they:
For an appointment, more information or to obtain a second opinion for your child, please call us at 617-355-6021 or request an appointment online.
For families residing outside of the United States, please call Boston Children's International Health Services at +1-617-355-5209.
We are grateful to have been ranked #1 on U.S. News & World Report's list of the best children's hospitals in the nation for the third year in a row, an honor we could not have achieved without the patients and families who inspire us to do our very best for them. Thanks to you, Boston Children's is a place where we can write the greatest children's stories ever told.”