Cerebral Palsy Overview

This website was created to help families and their friends with up-to-date information about Cerebral Palsy (CP). We have the latest information on CP, its causes, early signs, diagnosis, and treatment. We have also gathered vital information on coping with the personal and financial effects of Cerebral Palsy, which may be difficult to deal with without the proper support.

What is Cerebral Palsy?

Cerebral palsy (CP) is a condition that affects thousands of babies and children each year. It is not contagious, which means you can't catch it from anyone who has it. Children with Cerebral Palsy have damage to the area of the brain that controls muscle tone and affects, movement and motor skills.

There Are Three Types of Cerebral Palsy

  1. Spastic Cerebral Palsy – The most common type of CP is spastic. A child with spastic Cerebral Palsy can't relax his or her muscles and the muscles may be stiff with jerky movements.
  2. Athetoid Cerebral Palsy – For children with Athetoid CP, they develop involuntary, purposeless movements which often interfere with speaking, feeding, reaching, grasping, and other skills requiring coordinated movements.
  3. Ataxic Cerebral Palsy – Children with Ataxic CP have a disturbed sense of balance and depth perception. This is a rare form of CP and affected children tend to walk unsteadily placing their feet unusually far apart.

A child's physical condition can be significantly improved through medical treatment and therapy. The Treatment Options section describes physical, occupational, and speech therapy to help children with CP develop skills like walking, sitting, swallowing, and using their hands. There are also medications to treat the seizures that some children have with Cerebral Palsy. Some medications can help relax the muscles in children with spastic CP. Other children with Cerebral Palsy may have special surgeries to keep their arms or legs straighter and more flexible.

In our Financial Assistance section, we discuss how patients and their families may be helped with medical bills and financial concerns.

Because Cerebral Palsy can be caused by injuries during pregnancy, or soon after birth, see the section onWhat Causes CP to find out about your loved one's Cerebral Palsy.

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