Cerebral Palsy—Don't Delay

Authors

  • Sarah McIntyre,

    Corresponding author
    1. The University of Sydney, School of Paediatrics and Child Health, New South Wales, Sydney, Australia
    2. The University of Notre Dame, School of Medicine, New South Wales, Sydney, Australia
    • Cerebral Palsy Alliance, Research Institute, New South Wales, Australia
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  • Cathy Morgan,

    1. Cerebral Palsy Alliance, Research Institute, New South Wales, Australia
    2. The University of Notre Dame, School of Medicine, New South Wales, Sydney, Australia
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  • Karen Walker,

    1. The University of Sydney, School of Paediatrics and Child Health, New South Wales, Sydney, Australia
    2. Grace Center for Newborn Care, The Children's Hospital at Westmead, New South Wales, Australia
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  • Iona Novak

    1. Cerebral Palsy Alliance, Research Institute, New South Wales, Australia
    2. The University of Notre Dame, School of Medicine, New South Wales, Sydney, Australia
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Correspondence to: Sarah McIntyre, Cerebral Palsy Alliance, The University of Sydney, The University of Notre Dame, Australia. E-mail: smcintyre@cerebralpalsy.org.au

Abstract

Cerebral palsy (CP) is the most severe physical disability within the spectrum of developmental delay. CP is an umbrella term describing a group of motor disorders, accompanied by many associated impairments. The disability is a result of injuries to the developing brain occurring any time from the first trimester of pregnancy through to early childhood. However, for the great majority, their full etiological causal pathway remains unclear. It is important to discriminate as early as possible between: (a) mild or nonspecific motor delay, (b) developmental coordination disorder, (c) syndromes, (d) metabolic and progressive conditions, and (e) CP with its various motor types and distributions. The most promising predictive tool for CP is the general movements assessment, which assesses the quality of spontaneous movements of infants in the first 4 months of life. We propose a change in diagnostic practice. We recommend a shift away from referral for intervention following a formal (most often late) description of CP, to one of referral for intervention whichoccurs immediately once an infant is considered “at risk” of CP. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Dev Disabil Res Rev 2011;17:114–129.

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