My son just turned 6 yrs and will be tested for Dysphagia in a few days. All the information I look up mentions CP as a cause of dysphagia. Looking at my child, he appears very healthy-he is very agile, but very small for his age. He has had ongoing difficulties with speech, sensory integration, and motor imbalance since the age of 2.5 years. I am a Special Education teacher and at the time was working with preschool children w/various disabilities. When he was two weeks old , he was sent to the emergency room and had a spinal tap-he had two ear infections. He stayed 5 days and then they sent him home. Again at 7 wks, he refused to take his bottle and again he was sent to the ER where he had a second spinal tap-this time, his heart rate went very high-beyond what the doctors felt was normal-he was then administered several cardiology tests, but again was OK. He continued w/ear infections until he had tubes at 8 months. He has since had 2 more sets of tubes and his adnoids removed. I started to worry when he was 2.5 yrs. because his speech and motor balance seemed to be impaired. In addition, he had a very difficult time with sensory integration-he would tear off his clothes and refused to eat and still refuses to eat foods with certain textures. He was evaluated and started receiving Speech and OT services. He did well, so he no longer needed the program, but still required speech and OT services. He continued with speech until the end of preschool-5 yrs. He received OT in kindergarten until approx. May 2004-about a month later, he started to pool saliva in his mouth. He had both a larynoscopy and scope down the nose to check for reflux-both doctors said he had very mild redness-they did not believe that reflux was the cause. His dentist noticed that he still has an infants tongue thrust when he does swallow and his ENT specialist said that she noticed a problem with muscle tone in his face-the reason for the test for dysphagia. In addition, he was delivered by c-section 10 days past his due date after 30 hours of labor. My question is, can a child have a very mild case of CP and not be diagnosed until later on? If this test does come back to show that he has dysphagia, should more testing be done to look at CP as a cause?
Very mild CP can certainly go undiagnosed until later years. Moderate to severe cases of CP are generally diagnosed very early now. CP is really just a generic, catch-all term for a neuro-muscular disorder. There is no tests for CP. Just because your son has developmental delays does not absolutely mean he has CP. The symptoms that allow doctors to come to the CP diagnosis are caused by an injury to the brain prenatally, during birth, or shortly after birth. Hypoxia and stroke tend to be the leading cause. While a lot of children with CP have sensory integration dysfunction, it is not actually a sign of CP. Feeding problems, speech delays, toileting difficulty, growth delays, and general motor delays are all very common in children with CP. There are different classifications of CP. The most common is spastic cp, where the muscles are tight and work against the child's movement. Another type is hypotonic, or very floppy tone. There is also mixed tone, as well as choreo-athitosis which causes involuntary muscle movement.
If you are really concerned, you may wish to consult a pediatric neurologist and ask for an MRI.