What Are the Potential Signs of Cerebral Palsy in 9-12-Month-Olds?

Cerebral Palsy Diagnosis, Child Development

The time leading up to a baby’s first birthday is very exciting for many families. However, it’s also a time that some parents realize their child isn’t meeting common developmental milestones. The following behaviors could be a sign that your 9- to 12-month-old child has cerebral palsy.

Motor Skill Difficulties in 9- to 12-Month-Olds

Most 9- to 12-month-old children enjoy getting mobile and exploring the world around them. However, not all kids find getting around easy. Mobility issues may be a symptom of cerebral palsy in 9-month-old to 12-month-old children:

  • Slowness or reluctance to crawl
  • Scooting on buttocks to get around, rather than crawling
  • Getting up on knees, as if to crawl, but not actually crawling
  • Crawling in a lopsided fashion, pushing only with the hand and leg on one side of the body while the other side drags
  • Difficulty standing and bearing weight on the feet, even when supported
  • Not moving arms or legs to make dressing easier
  • Not resisting being pushed to the side from a seated position by using the opposite hand to right themselves
  • Reaching for items with just one preferred hand, keeping the other fisted
  • Difficulty moving fingers independently of one another
  • Difficulty picking up objects, such as small toys and food items, in thumb and forefinger
  • Trouble banging two items, such as toys, together
  • Difficulty putting items inside a container and taking them out again
  • Needing support to get into a seated position and remain sitting
  • Needing assistance for feeding
  • Struggling to swallow without choking from time to time
  • Not moving around on two feet, even when supported
  • Not using simple gestures, like shaking their head to mean “no” or waving goodbye to someone
  • Not knowing how to use simple tools, like a cup for drinking or a comb for combing hair

Verbal Difficulties in 9- to 12-Month-Olds

Many 9- to 12-month-old babies are developing their verbal skills and enjoying communicating with the ones they love. Cerebral palsy can delay speech or make it more difficult for many 9- to 12-month-old children. Look out for the following potential signs of cerebral palsy in your children:

  • Saying little to no recognizable words
  • Not repeating words or sounds other people say
  • Not varying tone when babbling to imitate real speech
  • Not using words or sounds for attention

Limited Response in 9- to 12-Month-Olds

Most 9- to 12-month-old children are highly interactive and engaged with the world around them. A lack of response may indicate problems with your child’s brain, such as those developmental issues that cause cerebral palsy. Watch for the following potential signs of cerebral palsy in 9-month-old to 12-month-old children:

  • Not pointing to things that they want or like
  • Not connecting the words “mama” and “dada,” or similar to parents
  • Not mimicking other people
  • Not playing simple games, such as peek-a-boo and pat-a-cake
  • Not picking up books when wanting to hear a story
  • Not responding to simple requests, such “stop that” or “give me that toy”
  • Not responding to their own name
  • Holding objects but not exploring them by shaking them, hitting them against surfaces or throwing them
  • Not looking for hidden items, such as toys, or struggling to find them
  • Not looking at items when they’re named, such as pictures in books or animals at the zoo
  • Not understanding what common gestures, such as shaking the head “no,” means
  • Acting relaxed around strangers, rather than seeming shy or nervous
  • Acting relaxed in situations that may trouble other children, such as during storms or when someone makes a loud noise
  • Acting calm when parents leave
  • Not preferring certain toys or people

Losing Skills in 9- to 12-Month-Olds

Observing children meeting milestones is one of the most common ways parents know their little ones are on the right track. However, parents need to make sure their child also retains the skills they learned in the past.

Most children build on their skills. Regressing, or losing skills once held, may occur when children are stressed by changes in their life. However, it may also point to the kind of brain injury or irregular brain development that causes cerebral palsy. If your child becomes less mobile or verbal, for example, see your family doctor to discuss this unusual behavior.

While some children develop more slowly than others, these signs may point to a potential problem, such as cerebral palsy. A cerebral palsy diagnosis can help your child secure the help they need, but it can also take a financial and emotional toll. If you think medical negligence may have caused your child’s cerebral palsy, contact The Cerebral Palsy Family Lawyers at Janet, Janet & Suggs, LLC. We will use our legal and medical expertise to help you navigate through the process to seek the compensation you and your family deserve.



Claire Surles, RN
Reviewed by:
Claire Surles, RN
Registered Nurse

Claire comes to JJS after a 10-year career as a labor and delivery nurse. She dedicated her hospital efforts to advocating for families, providing the safest birthing environment possible as Newborn Admission Nurse at UMMC St. Joseph Medical Center in Towson, Maryland. Her passion for helping those who experienced losses at any stage of gestation led to her appointment as Coordinator of the hospital’s ROOTS perinatal loss program. READ FULL BIO

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