Cerebral palsy (CP) refers to a group of disorders that affect muscle movement and coordination. In many cases, vision, hearing, and sensation are also affected.
The word “cerebral” means having to do with the brain.
The word “palsy” means weakness or problems with body movement.
CP is the most common cause of motor disabilities in childhood, affecting approximately 2 to 3 out of every 1,000 children.
Abnormal brain development or injury to the developing brain can cause CP.
The damage affects the part of the brain that controls body movement, coordination, and posture.
It may occur before birth, during birth, or shortly after birth. Most children are born with CP, but they may not show symptoms of a disorder until months or years later. Symptoms usually appear before a child reaches age 3 or 4.
The symptoms of CP vary from person-to-person. Some people with CP may have difficulty walking and sitting. Other people with CP can have trouble grasping objects. The symptoms can become more severe or less severe over time.
People with CP can have other problems, such as:
- communication difficulties
- learning disabilities
- vision loss
There’s no cure for CP, but early diagnosis and treatment can greatly improve quality of life.