It is a common fact that there are reflex problems for children with cerebral palsy. This is so widely known that doctors often check reflexes when diagnosing cerebral palsy. The presence of reflexes that are not typical to a child’s age may possibly indicate cerebral palsy. Reflex observations however are not the only indicators that are monitored during diagnosis. Movements, medical history and lab tests are taken into consideration too during diagnosis.

For purposes of parental awareness, it is crucial to know some of the reflex problems for children with cerebral palsy. Here are some of them:

· The Moro reflex is probably the most basic and well known. This is normally observed among babies below six months. This reflex can manifest itself when a baby is placed on its back and its legs are tilted over its head. In response to this action, babies normally stretch their arms up and take on an embracing position. If this reflex persists beyond six months, it could indicate possible problems.

· The Landau Reflex should develop among infants who are 4-5 months old. A baby carried on a face down horizontal position would normally extend its head and neck. Flexing the neck would result in legs flexing too. The absence of this reflex may point to problems.

· The placing reflex may also be tested. The normal reflex of a baby when its foot is placed on the edge of a surface is to lift and place the foot on the surface. Its absence is an indicator of possible brain injury.

· Babies normally have a set of typical reflexes. This includes grasping or clasping. Babies who cannot perform these normal tasks may be showing reflex problems for children with cerebral palsy.

· The tonic labyrinthine reflex is another common reflex to watch out for. Normally, infants on their backs with their heads tilted will respond by arching their backs and straightening stiffened legs. Those who have cerebral palsy may extend this reflex beyond the first few months of birth.

· The asymmetric tonic neck reflex is another primitive reflex present among infants. An infant whose head is turned to one side will have stiffened and extended limbs on that side. The limbs on the other side are supposed to flex. Those who may have problems may have this reflex even after their first year.

· The parachute reflex normally develops when a baby reaches six months. A baby held suspended horizontally and lowered down would normally extend both arms down to touch the surface. Those who may have problems with their muscles may extend only one arm.

· A very severe gag reflex is among the reflex problems for children with cerebral palsy. Normally, the gag reflex is essential to prevent getting choked. Having this reflex to the extreme however may present problems during feeding and dental work.

· Kids with cerebral palsy are also known to have what is known as the startle reflex. Anything that can startle them can start a series of uncontrolled movements. In some cases, attempting to stop these involuntary movements may only make them worse.

There are other reflex problems for children with cerebral palsy. Severe reflex problems can present challenges when feeding, dressing and bathing kids with cerebral palsy. Take the time to consult an expert to learn more about atypical reflexes and managing them.

Cerebral Palsy Therapy Tip #1

Get Help – Taking care of someone with cerebral palsy is a lot of hard work. Occasionally you have to take a break and spend some time alone. Ask family and friends for help and teach them how to do what you do so you can get away for a while.

Cerebral Palsy Therapy Tip #2

Stay Positive – Cerebral palsy is not a disease and will not get progressively worse. Accepting the condition for what it is and keeping a positive outlook will make life easier for you and the person you are caring for.