Motor Outcomes in Premature Infants

Maureen Connors Lenke, BS, OTR/L

Disclosures

NAINR. 2003;3(3) 

In This Article

Diagnosis of Cerebral Palsy (CP)

CP is a nonprogressive disorder of posture and movement caused by brain damage or defect that is typically diagnosed by 2 to 3 years of age.[9] Cerebral palsy is also defined as a static encephalopathy with a developmental presentation because the signs and symptoms of the brain injury change as the brain continues to grow and develop.[10] CP represents a group of disorders with impairments ranging from mild to very severe. The impairments emerge slowly over time and are often not apparent during the first few months of life. There is typically a latency period between the original brain insult and the earliest clinical signs of CP.

Prematurity is the number one risk factor for CP.[10] Premature infants with CP will demonstrate increasing abnormalities of muscle tone, reflexes, posture, and movement patterns with increasingly delayed motor milestones. These deficits emerge most significantly between 6 and 18 months corrected age.[8]

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