Cerebral Palsy Information Page | National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke


Definition

Definition

Treatment

Treatment

Prognosis

Prognosis

Clinical Trials

Clinical Trials

Organizations

Organizations

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Publications

Definition

The term cerebral palsy refers to a group of neurological disorders that appear in infancy or early childhood and permanently affect body movement, muscle coordination, and balance. CP affects the part of the brain that controls muscle movements.  The majority of children with cerebral palsy are born with it, although it may not be detected until months or years later. The early signs of cerebral palsy usually appear before a child reaches 3 years of age. The most common are a lack of muscle coordination when performing voluntary movements (ataxia); stiff or tight muscles and exaggerated reflexes (spasticity); walking with one foot or leg dragging; walking on the toes, a crouched gait, or a “scissored” gait; and muscle tone that is either too stiff or too floppy. Other neurological symptoms that commonly occur in individuals with CP include seizures, hearing loss and impaired vision, bladder and bowel control issues, and pain and abnormal sensations. A small number of children have CP as the result of brain damage in the first few months or years of life, brain infections such as bacterial meningitis or viral encephalitis, or head injury from a motor vehicle accident, a fall, or child abuse. The disorder isn’t progressive, meaning that the brain damage typically doesn’t get worse over time. Risk factors associated with CP do not cause the disorder but can increase a child’s chance of being born with the disorder.CP is not hereditary.

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Definition

The term cerebral palsy refers to a group of neurological disorders that appear in infancy or early childhood and permanently affect body movement, muscle coordination, and balance. CP affects the part of the brain that controls muscle movements.  The majority of children with cerebral palsy are born with it, although it may not be detected until months or years later. The early signs of cerebral palsy usually appear before a child reaches 3 years of age. The most common are a lack of muscle coordination when performing voluntary movements (ataxia); stiff or tight muscles and exaggerated reflexes (spasticity); walking with one foot or leg dragging; walking on the toes, a crouched gait, or a “scissored” gait; and muscle tone that is either too stiff or too floppy. Other neurological symptoms that commonly occur in individuals with CP include seizures, hearing loss and impaired vision, bladder and bowel control issues, and pain and abnormal sensations. A small number of children have CP as the result of brain damage in the first few months or years of life, brain infections such as bacterial meningitis or viral encephalitis, or head injury from a motor vehicle accident, a fall, or child abuse. The disorder isn’t progressive, meaning that the brain damage typically doesn’t get worse over time. Risk factors associated with CP do not cause the disorder but can increase a child’s chance of being born with the disorder.CP is not hereditary.

Treatment

Cerebral palsy can’t be cured, but treatment will often improve a child’s capabilities. In general, the earlier treatment begins the better chance children have of overcoming developmental disabilities or learning new ways to accomplish the tasks that challenge them. Early intervention, supportive treatments, medications, and surgery can help many individuals improve their muscle control. Treatment may include physical and occupational therapy, speech therapy, drugs to control seizures, relax muscle spasms, and alleviate pain; surgery to correct anatomical abnormalities or release tight muscles; braces and other orthotic devices; wheelchairs and rolling walkers; and communication aids such as computers with attached voice synthesizers. 

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Treatment

Cerebral palsy can’t be cured, but treatment will often improve a child’s capabilities. In general, the earlier treatment begins the better chance children have of overcoming developmental disabilities or learning new ways to accomplish the tasks that challenge them. Early intervention, supportive treatments, medications, and surgery can help many individuals improve their muscle control. Treatment may include physical and occupational therapy, speech therapy, drugs to control seizures, relax muscle spasms, and alleviate pain; surgery to correct anatomical abnormalities or release tight muscles; braces and other orthotic devices; wheelchairs and rolling walkers; and communication aids such as computers with attached voice synthesizers. 

Definition

The term cerebral palsy refers to a group of neurological disorders that appear in infancy or early childhood and permanently affect body movement, muscle coordination, and balance. CP affects the part of the brain that controls muscle movements.  The majority of children with cerebral palsy are born with it, although it may not be detected until months or years later. The early signs of cerebral palsy usually appear before a child reaches 3 years of age. The most common are a lack of muscle coordination when performing voluntary movements (ataxia); stiff or tight muscles and exaggerated reflexes (spasticity); walking with one foot or leg dragging; walking on the toes, a crouched gait, or a “scissored” gait; and muscle tone that is either too stiff or too floppy. Other neurological symptoms that commonly occur in individuals with CP include seizures, hearing loss and impaired vision, bladder and bowel control issues, and pain and abnormal sensations. A small number of children have CP as the result of brain damage in the first few months or years of life, brain infections such as bacterial meningitis or viral encephalitis, or head injury from a motor vehicle accident, a fall, or child abuse. The disorder isn’t progressive, meaning that the brain damage typically doesn’t get worse over time. Risk factors associated with CP do not cause the disorder but can increase a child’s chance of being born with the disorder.CP is not hereditary.

Treatment

Cerebral palsy can’t be cured, but treatment will often improve a child’s capabilities. In general, the earlier treatment begins the better chance children have of overcoming developmental disabilities or learning new ways to accomplish the tasks that challenge them. Early intervention, supportive treatments, medications, and surgery can help many individuals improve their muscle control. Treatment may include physical and occupational therapy, speech therapy, drugs to control seizures, relax muscle spasms, and alleviate pain; surgery to correct anatomical abnormalities or release tight muscles; braces and other orthotic devices; wheelchairs and rolling walkers; and communication aids such as computers with attached voice synthesizers. 

Prognosis

Cerebral palsy doesn’t always cause profound disabilities and for most people with CP the disorder does not affect life expectancy. Many children with CP have average to above average intelligence and attend the same schools as other children their age. Supportive treatments, medications, and surgery can help many individuals improve their motor skills and ability to communicate with the world..While one child with CP might not require special assistance, a child with severe CP might be unable to walk and need extensive, lifelong care.

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Prognosis

Cerebral palsy doesn’t always cause profound disabilities and for most people with CP the disorder does not affect life expectancy. Many children with CP have average to above average intelligence and attend the same schools as other children their age. Supportive treatments, medications, and surgery can help many individuals improve their motor skills and ability to communicate with the world..While one child with CP might not require special assistance, a child with severe CP might be unable to walk and need extensive, lifelong care.

Prognosis

Cerebral palsy doesn’t always cause profound disabilities and for most people with CP the disorder does not affect life expectancy. Many children with CP have average to above average intelligence and attend the same schools as other children their age. Supportive treatments, medications, and surgery can help many individuals improve their motor skills and ability to communicate with the world..While one child with CP might not require special assistance, a child with severe CP might be unable to walk and need extensive, lifelong care.

Definition

The term cerebral palsy refers to a group of neurological disorders that appear in infancy or early childhood and permanently affect body movement, muscle coordination, and balance. CP affects the part of the brain that controls muscle movements.  The majority of children with cerebral palsy are born with it, although it may not be detected until months or years later. The early signs of cerebral palsy usually appear before a child reaches 3 years of age. The most common are a lack of muscle coordination when performing voluntary movements (ataxia); stiff or tight muscles and exaggerated reflexes (spasticity); walking with one foot or leg dragging; walking on the toes, a crouched gait, or a “scissored” gait; and muscle tone that is either too stiff or too floppy. Other neurological symptoms that commonly occur in individuals with CP include seizures, hearing loss and impaired vision, bladder and bowel control issues, and pain and abnormal sensations. A small number of children have CP as the result of brain damage in the first few months or years of life, brain infections such as bacterial meningitis or viral encephalitis, or head injury from a motor vehicle accident, a fall, or child abuse. The disorder isn’t progressive, meaning that the brain damage typically doesn’t get worse over time. Risk factors associated with CP do not cause the disorder but can increase a child’s chance of being born with the disorder.CP is not hereditary.

Treatment

Cerebral palsy can’t be cured, but treatment will often improve a child’s capabilities. In general, the earlier treatment begins the better chance children have of overcoming developmental disabilities or learning new ways to accomplish the tasks that challenge them. Early intervention, supportive treatments, medications, and surgery can help many individuals improve their muscle control. Treatment may include physical and occupational therapy, speech therapy, drugs to control seizures, relax muscle spasms, and alleviate pain; surgery to correct anatomical abnormalities or release tight muscles; braces and other orthotic devices; wheelchairs and rolling walkers; and communication aids such as computers with attached voice synthesizers. 

Prognosis

Cerebral palsy doesn’t always cause profound disabilities and for most people with CP the disorder does not affect life expectancy. Many children with CP have average to above average intelligence and attend the same schools as other children their age. Supportive treatments, medications, and surgery can help many individuals improve their motor skills and ability to communicate with the world..While one child with CP might not require special assistance, a child with severe CP might be unable to walk and need extensive, lifelong care.

What research is being done?

Researchers supported by the NINDS are investigating the roles of mishaps early in brain development, including genetic defects, which are sometimes responsible for the brain malformations and abnormalities that result in cerebral palsy. Scientists are also looking at traumatic events in newborn babies’ brains, such as bleeding, epileptic seizures, and breathing and circulation problems, which can cause the abnormal release of chemicals that trigger the kind of damage that causes cerebral palsy.  NINDS-supported researchers also hope to find ways to prevent white matter disease, the most common cause of cerebral palsy.  To make sure children are getting the right kinds of therapies, studies are also being done that evaluate both experimental treatments and treatments already in use so that physicians and parents have valid information to help them choose the best therapy.

Information from the National Library of Medicine’s MedlinePlus
Cerebral Palsy

Patient Organizations

Cerebral Palsy Foundation

3 Columbus Circle, 15th Floor

New York

NY

New York, NY 10019

Tel: 212-520-1686

Cerebral Palsy Research Network

P.O. Box 8347

Greenville

SC

Greenville, SC 29604

Child Neurology Foundation

201 Chicago Avenue, Suite 200

Minneapolis

MN

Minneapolis, MN 55415

Tel: 612-928-6325

Children’s Hemiplegia and Stroke Assocn. (CHASA)

4101 West Green Oaks

Suite 205, #149

Arlington

TX

Arlington, TX 76016

Tel: 817-492-4325

Easterseals

141 Jackson Boulevard

Suite 1400A

Chicago

IL

Chicago, IL 60604

Tel: 800-221-6827

March of Dimes

1550 Crystal Drive, Suite 1300

Arlington

VA

Arlington, VA 22202

Tel: 888-MODIMES (663-4637)

Pathways.org

355 E. Erie Street

Chicago

IL

Chicago, IL 60601

Tel: 800-955-CHILD (2445)

Pedal-with-Pete Foundation [for Research on Cerebral Palsy]

P.O. Box 1233

Worthington

OH

Worthington, OH 43085

Tel: 614-527-0202

Pediatric Brain Foundation (formerly Children’s Neurobiological Solutions)

2144 E. Republic Road

Building B, Suite 202

Springfield

MO

Springfield, MO 65804

Tel: (417)887-4242

United Cerebral Palsy (UCP)

1825 K St NW

Suite 600

Washington

DC

Washington, DC 20006

Tel: 202-776-0406; 800-USA-5UCP (872-5827)

Patient Organizations


Date last modified: Wed, 2019-03-27 16:20

Wednesday February 9, 2022