Cerebral Palsy (CP) is the most common childhood motor disability.
It affects a person’s motor skills, including their ability to move and maintain their balance and posture. CP is caused by abnormal development in or damage to the brain. Damage to the brain is typically the result of the lack of oxygen to the baby’s brain during labor and delivery.
What to know about CP:
- Cerebral Palsy has been diagnosed in about 1 in 323 children in the U.S.
- There are four main types of CP. The most common, affecting about 80% of those diagnosed, is spastic CP marked by increased muscle tone and awkward movements. (Other types are dyskinetic CP, ataxic CP, and mixed CP).
- Most CP is directly tied to brain damage sustained before or during birth (referred to as congenital CP). Factors such as premature birth, small birth weight, and complications during birth can increase an infant’s risk for CP.
- While this disorder is not progressive, the clinical manifestation of symptoms may get worse over time. A key indicator is when babies/children stop meeting fine and gross motor milestones.
- CP is frequently associated with other conditions including pain, intellectual disability, speech-language disorders, bladder control issues, visual impairments, seizure disorders, hearing impairment, gastrostomy (feeding) tube dependence.
If you suspect your child may be at risk for CP, early evaluation is critical. Even if the child appears to be meeting milestones early on, untreated CP symptoms can get drastically worse as they age.
The CDC offers additional helpful information about CP.