A number of disorders of the developing brain that affects body movement, posture, and muscle coordination.
Caused by damage to one or more specific areas of the brain, usually occurring during fetal development; before, during or shortly after birth; during infancy; or early childhood.
Not a disease, not progressive nor communicable.
The United Cerebral Palsy Research and Educational Foundation estimates between 1.5 – 2 million children and adults have cerebral palsy in the United States.
10,000 babies and infants are diagnosed with cerebral palsy annually.
1,200 – 1,500 preschool children are also recognized to have cerebral palsy each year.
Spastic Cerebral Palsy – Characterized by muscle stiffness and permanent contractions.
Athetoid or Dyskinetic Cerebral Palsy – Characterized by uncontrolled, slow writhing movements.
Ataxic Cerebral Palsy – Characterized by poor coordination and balance.
A person with cerebral palsy may exhibit one or more of the following effects:
Muscle tightness or spasticity
Disturbance in gait or mobility
Difficulty in swallowing and problems with speechAn individual with cerebral palsy may also exhibit:
Difficulty in feeding
Impairment of sight, hearing or speech
Abnormal sensation and perception
Difficulty with bladder and bowel control
Problems with breathing because of postural difficulties
Skin disorders because of pressure sores
Low birth weight
Severe jaundice shortly after birth
Bacterial infection of the mother, fetus or infant
German measles or other viral diseases in early pregnancy
Lack of growth factors during the birthing process
RH blood type incompatibility between mother and infant
Inability of the placenta to provide the developing fetus with oxygen and nutrients
At this time, there is no cure for the developmental brain damage that causes cerebral palsy. Training and therapy, however, can help improve muscle function and coordination.