Cerebral palsy is a group of disorders that affect a person's ability to move and to maintain balance and posture. The disorders appear in the first few years of life. Usually they do not get worse over time. People with cerebral palsy may have difficulty walking. They may also have trouble with tasks such as writing or using scissors. Some have other medical conditions, including seizure disorders or mental impairment.
Cerebral palsy happens when the areas of the brain that control movement and posture do not develop correctly or get damaged. Early signs of cerebral palsy usually appear before 3 years of age. Babies with cerebral palsy are often slow to roll over, sit, crawl, smile, or walk. Some babies are born with cerebral palsy; others get it after they are born.
There is no cure for cerebral palsy, but treatment can improve the lives of those who have it. Treatment includes medicines, braces, and physical, occupational and speech therapy.
NIH: National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
- 11 Things to Know about Cerebral Palsy (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) Also in Spanish
- Birth Defects: Cerebral Palsy (March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation) Also in Spanish
- Cerebral Palsy (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
- Cerebral Palsy (National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke) - Short Summary
Treatments and Therapies
- Botulinum Toxin Injections: A Treatment for Muscle Spasms (American Academy of Family Physicians) Also in Spanish
- ClinicalTrials.gov: Cerebral Palsy (National Institutes of Health)
Journal Articles References and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)
Find an Expert
- Cerebral Palsy (For Parents) (Nemours Foundation) Also in Spanish
- Cerebral Palsy Checklist: Babies & Preschoolers (Birth to age 5) (Nemours Foundation) Also in Spanish
- Cerebral Palsy Checklist: Big Kids (6 to 12) (Nemours Foundation) Also in Spanish
- Dietary Needs for Kids With Cerebral Palsy (Nemours Foundation) Also in Spanish
- Cerebral Palsy (For Teens) (Nemours Foundation)
- Cerebral Palsy Checklist: Teens & Young Adult (13 to 21) (Nemours Foundation) Also in Spanish