Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Brain & Nervous System Health Center

Font Size

Understanding Cerebral Palsy -- Symptoms

What Are the Symptoms of Cerebral Palsy?

The symptoms of cerebral palsy -- or CP -- can vary from light clumsiness to extensive spasticity (uncontrolled contraction of muscles).

Early signs usually appear before the age of 3. Parents are often the first to suspect that their child is not developing motor skills normally or is experiencing developmental delays. Often, babies with CP are slow to reach developmental milestones, such as learning to roll over, sit, crawl, smile, or walk. Some affected children seem rigid or stiff. They also may exhibit an unusual posture or favor one side of their body.

Understanding Cerebral Palsy

Find out more about cerebral palsy:



Diagnosis and Treatment


There are three types of CP:

  • Spastic CP, the most common type, is a disorder in which certain muscles are stiff and weak. The stiffness can occur mainly in the legs (diplegia), only in the arm and leg of the same side (hemiplegia), or in both arms and both legs (quadriplegia). A wide-based, staggering, or "scissors" gait is characteristic of this type.
  • Dyskinetic, or athetotic, CP generally involves impairment of voluntary muscle control. People with this form of CP have incomplete or fragmented motor movements often involving bizarre twisting motions, tremors, or exaggerated posturing (athetosis).
  • Mixed CP is a combination of the above two types.

Call Your Doctor About Cerebral Palsy If:

  • Your infant is feeding (sucking) poorly or is very floppy
  • Your child does not seem to be developing motor skills -- such as rolling over, sitting up, or crawling -- at a normal pace
  • Your child's muscles seem unusually stiff
  • Your child has an unusual posture or seems to favor one side of his or her body

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Neil Lava, MD on March 19, 2015

Today on WebMD

nerve damage
Learn how this disease affects the nervous system.
senior woman with lost expression
Know the early warning signs.
woman in art gallery
Tips to stay smart, sharp, and focused.
medical marijuana plant
What is it used for?
senior man
boy hits soccer ball with head
red and white swirl
marijuana plant
brain illustration stroke
nerve damage
Alzheimers Overview
Graphic of number filled head and dna double helix