Cerebral Palsy - Topic Overview
Cerebral palsy is a group
of problems that affect body movement and posture. It is related to a brain
injury or to problems with brain development. It is one of the most common causes of
lasting disability in children.
Cerebral palsy causes
reflex movements that a person can't control and muscle tightness that may
affect parts or all of the body. These problems can range from mild to severe.
seizures, and vision and hearing problems can
Cerebral palsy is
caused by a brain injury or problem that occurs during pregnancy or birth or
within the first 2 to 3 years of a child's life. It can be caused
- Problems from being born too early (premature
- Not getting enough blood, oxygen, or other nutrients
before or during birth.
- A serious head injury.
serious infection that can affect the brain, such as
- Some problems passed from
parent to child (genetic conditions) that affect brain
In many cases, the exact cause of cerebral palsy is not
Everyone with cerebral
palsy has problems with body movement and posture. But the physical problems
are worse for some people than for others.
Some people who have cerebral palsy have
a slight limp or a hard time walking. Other people have little or no
control over their arms and legs or other parts of the body, such as the mouth
and tongue, which can cause problems with eating and speaking. People who have
severe forms of cerebral palsy are more likely to have other problems, such as
seizures or intellectual disability.
Babies with severe cerebral palsy
often have problems with their posture. Their bodies may be either very floppy
or very stiff. Birth defects sometimes occur along with cerebral
palsy. Examples of birth defects include a spine that doesn't have the normal
shape, a small jawbone, or a small head.
The brain injury or problem that causes cerebral palsy
doesn't get worse over time. But new symptoms may appear, or symptoms may
change or get worse as your child gets older. This is why some babies born with
cerebral palsy don't show clear signs of it right away.