Cerebral Palsyenparentshttps://kidshealth.org/EN/images/headers/CPCenter_Parents_EnHD.jpgCerebral palsy (CP) affects a child's muscle tone, movement, and more. This article explains causes, diagnosis, treatment, and coping.cerebral palsy, congenital disorders, motor skills, muscle tone, athetoid, dyskinetic, spastic, ataxic, intracranial bleeding, mental retardation, developmental delays, mainstreaming, premature infants, muscle coordination, eating difficulties, bladder and bowel control, breathing problems, balance, depth perception, difficult to move, lack of oxygen, birth defects, seizures, CP, communication problems, visual impairment, therapies, hearing loss, food aspiration, advocates, support groups, specialized education plans, CD1Cerebral Palsy, CD1Orthotics, CD1Gait and Motion Analysis Lab, CD1Orthopedics03/22/200003/06/201909/02/2019M. Wade Shrader, MD and Margaret Salzbrenner, APRN09/13/20182bf118da-d5ef-4078-b144-6b59eef2ce30https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/cerebral-palsy.html/<h3>What Is Cerebral Palsy?</h3> <p>Cerebral palsy (CP) is a problem that affects muscle tone, movement, and motor skills. It hinders the body's ability to move in a coordinated and purposeful way. It also can affect other body functions that involve motor skills and muscles, like breathing, bladder and bowel control, eating, and talking.</p> <p>CP often is caused by brain damage that happens before or during a baby's birth, or during the first 3-to-5 years of a child's life. Brain damage also can lead to other issues, like sight, hearing, and learning problems.</p> <p>The types of CP are:</p> <ol> <li><a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/spastic-cp.html/"><strong>spastic cerebral palsy</strong></a> &mdash; causes stiffness and movement difficulties</li> <li><a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/dyskinetic-cp.html/"><strong>dyskinetic (athetoid) cerebral palsy</strong></a> &mdash; causes uncontrolled movements</li> <li><a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/ataxic-cp.html/"><strong>ataxic cerebral palsy</strong></a> &mdash; causes a problem with balance and depth perception</li> </ol> <p>There is no cure for CP, but a child's quality of life can improve with:</p> <ul> <li>treatment that may involve surgery</li> <li>therapy, including <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/phys-therapy.html/">physical therapy</a>, <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/occupational-therapy.html/">occupational therapy</a>, and <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/speech-therapy.html/">speech therapy</a></li> <li>special equipment to help kids <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/assistivedevices-mobility-slideshow-html.html/">get around</a> and communicate with others</li> </ul> <p>Cerebral palsy does not get worse over time.</p> <h3>What Causes Cerebral Palsy?</h3> <p>The cause of CP isn't always known. But many cases happen when a child's brain is still developing, such as before birth or in early infancy. This may be due to:</p> <ul> <li>infections during pregnancy</li> <li>stroke either in the womb or after birth</li> <li>untreated <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/jaundice.html/">jaundice</a> (a yellowing of the skin and whites of eyes)</li> <li>genetic disorders</li> <li>medical problems in the mom during pregnancy</li> </ul> <p>In rare cases, CP happens because something goes wrong during a child's birth.</p> <p><a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/preemies.html/">Premature babies</a>&nbsp;(babies born early) have a higher chance of having CP than full-term babies. So do other low-birthweight babies and multiple births, such as twins and triplets.</p> <p>Brain damage in infancy or early childhood also can lead to CP. For example, a baby or toddler might suffer damage from:</p> <ul> <li><a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/lead-poisoning.html/">lead poisoning</a></li> <li>bacterial <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/meningitis.html/">meningitis</a></li> <li>poor blood flow to the brain</li> <li>being shaken as an infant (<a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/shaken.html/">shaken baby syndrome</a>)</li> <li>being in a car accident</li> </ul> <h3>How Is Cerebral Palsy Diagnosed?</h3> <p>Babies who are born early or who have health problems that put them at risk for cerebral palsy are watched for signs of the condition. Doctors look for:</p> <ul> <li><a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/development-sheets.html/">developmental delays</a>, like not reaching for toys by 4 months or sitting up by 7 months</li> <li>problems with motor skills, like being unable to crawl, walk, or move arms and legs in the usual way</li> <li>uncoordinated movements</li> <li>muscle tone that is too tight or too lose</li> <li>infant reflexes (like the palmar grasp, or "hands in fists" reflex) that stay beyond the age at which they're usually gone</li> </ul> <h3>What Problems Does CP Cause?</h3> <p>There is a range of physical and cognitive (the ability to learn and understand) disabilities when it comes to CP. Some kids have a lot of trouble with movement or learning, while others don't. It depends on how much the brain was damaged. For example, the damage can be partial, affecting only the part of the brain that controls walking. Or it can affect a larger area, like the parts that control walking and talking.</p> <p>Brain damage that causes CP also can affect other brain functions and lead to problems like:</p> <ul> <li>visual impairment or blindness</li> <li>hearing loss</li> <li>food aspiration (the sucking of food or fluid into the lungs)</li> <li><a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/gerd-reflux.html/">gastroesophageal reflux</a> (spitting up)</li> <li><a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/not-talk.html/">speech problems</a> and/or drooling</li> <li>tooth decay</li> <li>sleep disorders</li> <li>osteoporosis (weak, brittle bones)</li> <li>behavior problems</li> <li>learning disabilities</li> </ul> <p><a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/seizure.html/">Seizures</a>, speech and communication problems, and learning problems are more common among kids with CP. Many have problems that can need ongoing therapy and <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/assistivedevices-mobility-slideshow-html.html/">assistive devices</a> like braces or wheelchairs.</p> <h3>How Is Cerebral Palsy Treated?</h3> <p>There's no cure for cerebral palsy. But resources and therapies can help kids grow and develop to their greatest potential.</p> <p>As soon as CP is diagnosed, a child can begin therapy for movement and other areas that need help, such as learning, <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/speech-therapy.html/">speech</a>, hearing, and social and emotional development.</p> <p>Medicine helps kids who have a lot of muscle pain and stiffness. They can take medicine by mouth or get it through a pump (the baclofen pump) placed under the skin.</p> <p>Surgery can help fix dislocated hips and <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/scoliosis.html/">scoliosis</a> (curved spine), which are common in kids with CP. Leg braces help with walking.</p> <p>Kids can improve their bone health by <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/diet-cerebral-palsy.html/">eating diets</a> high in <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/calcium.html/">calcium</a>, <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/vitamin-d.html/">vitamin D</a>, and phosphorus. These nutrients help keep bones strong. Doctors, dietitians, and speech-language therapists can work with families to make sure kids get enough of the right nutrients and suggest changes to their diets or mealtime routines, if needed.</p> <h3>What Else Should I Know?</h3> <p>Kids with CP often need to see many different medical specialists for care. That team may include doctors and surgeons, nurses, therapists, psychologists, educators, and social workers.</p> <p>Even if many medical specialists are needed, it's still important to have a primary care doctor or a CP specialist. This doctor will take care of your child's routine health care and also help you coordinate care with other doctors.</p> <h3>Where Can Caregivers Get Help?</h3> <p>Taking care of a child with cerebral palsy can feel overwhelming at times. Not only do kids with CP need a lot of attention at home, they also need to go to many medical appointments and therapies. Don't be afraid to say yes when someone asks, "Can I help?" Your family and friends really do want to be there for you.</p> <p>To feel less alone and to connect with others who are facing the same challenges, find a local or online support group. You also can get information and support from CP organizations, such as:</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://yourcpf.org/">Cerebral Palsy Foundation</a></li> <li><a href="http://ucp.org/">United Cerebral Palsy</a></li> </ul> <p>Staying strong and healthy is not only good for you, but also for your child and your whole family.</p> <h3>Looking Ahead</h3> <p>Living with cerebral palsy is different for every child. To help your child move and learn as much as possible, work closely with your care team to develop a treatment plan. Then, as your child grows and his or her needs change, adjust the plan as necessary.</p> <p>These guides can help as you plan for each stage of childhood and early adulthood:</p> <ul> <li><a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/cp-checklist-younger.html/">Cerebral Palsy Checklist: Babies &amp; Preschoolers (Birth to Age 5)</a></li> <li><a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/cp-checklist-big-kids.html/">Cerebral Palsy Checklist: Big Kids (Ages 6 to 12)</a></li> <li><a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/cp-checklist-teens.html/">Cerebral Palsy Checklist: Teens &amp; Young Adults (Ages 13 to 21)</a></li> </ul>Parálisis cerebralLa parálisis cerebral (PC) es una de las enfermedades congénitas (existen antes del nacimiento o se contraen al nacer) más comunes de la niñez. Aproximadamente 500.000 niños y adultos de todas las edades en los EE.UU.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/es/parents/cerebral-palsy-esp.html/4e0a83c6-b4a4-4fca-b617-e64d1196926b
Abusive Head Trauma (Shaken Baby Syndrome)Abusive head trauma is the leading cause of death in child abuse cases in the United States. It happens when someone shakes an infant.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/shaken.html/5605afef-657e-425a-9c05-a744f314f43b
Assistive Devices: Positioning Aids (Slideshow)Kids with special needs have many options when it comes to supportive seats. View this slideshow to see what's available. https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/assistive-devices-positioners.html/95432635-2867-40f6-8d30-38e2270d662d
Assistive Devices: Walking and Mobility (Slideshow)Kids who have trouble walking have many options when it comes to getting around. View the slideshow below to learn more.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/assistivedevices-mobility-slideshow-html.html/422675fd-9d20-4405-95a6-dfd12116eae5
Ataxic Cerebral PalsyKids with ataxic CP have trouble with balance. They may walk with their legs farther apart than other kids. And they can have trouble knowing exactly where something is. https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/ataxic-cp.html/27df5246-350f-428b-9764-ba739f9acc21
Cerebral PalsyCerebral palsy is one of the most common developmental disabilities in the United States. It affects a person's ability to move and coordinate body movements.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/teens/story-cerebral-palsy.html/c17c0b68-3e8b-4d2e-9639-8cc27ff43d52
Cerebral Palsy (CP)Learn all about cerebral palsy (CP), one of the most common congenital disorders of childhood. Help your child or teen manage the condition, and find the help and services that kids with CP are entitled to.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/center/cp.html/efe651ef-23e3-47db-9e18-f26ac3a1eb3b
Cerebral Palsy Checklist: Babies & PreschoolersIf your child has cerebral palsy, there's a lot to know. This checklist makes it easy to find out what programs and services may be available to you.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/cp-checklist-younger.html/b4bcc9af-ba7b-48b9-893f-42487d916c20
Cerebral Palsy Checklist: Big KidsIf you have a school-age child with cerebral palsy, there's a lot to know. This checklist makes it easy to find out what programs and services may be available to you.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/cp-checklist-big-kids.html/ae0bb623-b044-4183-a2a7-14b97d97aa2e
Cerebral Palsy Checklist: Teens & Young AdultsIf your teen has cerebral palsy, there's a lot to know. This checklist makes it easy to determine what programs and services might be needed as your teen nears adulthood.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/cp-checklist-teens.html/5d460cde-6713-4360-ac8e-560c01a2fb18
Cerebral Palsy Factsheet (for Schools)What teachers should know about cerebral palsy, and teaching strategies to help students with CP succeed in school.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/cp-factsheet.html/d9f7eb10-25f6-41a9-9683-34367e5917cc
Cerebral Palsy: A Parent's Guide (Video)Are you raising a child with cerebral palsy? This guide offers advice, resources, and support so that you can help your child reach his or her full potential. https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/cp-guide.html/af3f7445-d1f4-45b8-9120-99417a175300
Cerebral Palsy: Ira's Story (Video)Ira has cerebral palsy (CP), but it doesn't interfere with his love of sports or his dream of being a broadcaster. Check out this video.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/story-ira.html/08d6062c-32ee-4605-9e06-a060c619ccae
Cerebral Palsy: Parents Talk (Video)Get advice from parents raising kids with cerebral palsy. Learn what works, what doesn’t, and what helped these families the most.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/cp-parentstalk.html/86e598ed-5558-433a-8a15-3b8170a1e8f3
Cerebral Palsy: Shannon's Story (Video)Shannon has cerebral palsy, which limits many abilities. But her wheelchair and her communication device give her the freedom to explore, and a voice to be heard. https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/cpshannons-story.html/dec1a042-8795-493e-bf63-069992443b1c
Dietary Needs for Kids With Cerebral PalsyKids with cerebral palsy often have trouble eating. But with the right diet and feeding techniques, they can get the nutrients needed to thrive.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/diet-cerebral-palsy.html/b345cc72-1c67-4577-87bb-d3940ac0051c
Dyskinetic Cerebral PalsyDyskinetic CP, or athetoid CP, is a type of CP. Kids with dyskinetic CP have trouble controlling muscle movement. https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/dyskinetic-cp.html/a47623a4-0163-4325-bb95-76ef51130217
Going to a Physical TherapistPhysical therapy uses exercises and other special treatments to help people move their bodies. Find out more in this article for kids.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/kids/physical-therapy.html/1a168d2a-98d8-45e8-b3b5-785fc9f6ecca
Going to an Occupational TherapistOccupational therapy helps children overcome obstacles to be as independent as possible. Learn more about OT.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/kids/occupational-therapist.html/9ecadc70-436b-4573-a947-12df6b333021
Kids With Special NeedsLots of kids have special needs. Find out more in this article for kids.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/kids/special-needs.html/59add500-bf3d-4e15-8611-87e58e291780
Occupational TherapyOccupational therapy can help improve kids' cognitive, physical, and motor skills and build their self-esteem and sense of accomplishment.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/occupational-therapy.html/e6873992-af60-4bab-82d9-3bd1fe9ad5a3
Physical TherapyDoctors often recommend physical therapy for kids who have been injured or have movement problems from an illness, disease, or disability. Learn more about PT.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/phys-therapy.html/b6464f6d-3679-4c44-b12d-6d6d3b1a95a7
ScoliosisScoliosis makes a person’s spine curve from side to side. Large curves can cause health problems like pain or breathing trouble. Health care providers treat scoliosis with back braces or surgery when needed. https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/teens/scoliosis.html/eb1d36eb-b517-42a5-9d47-7903103cdddc
Spastic Cerebral PalsyKids with spastic CP have stiff muscles in the upper part of the body, the lower part, or both.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/spastic-cp.html/488e3ec5-6b41-422f-b359-13f56ea81c0b
Speech-Language TherapyWorking with a certified speech-language pathologist can help a child with speech or language difficulties.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/speech-therapy.html/9bcaa854-6c27-4d01-80c3-176d24a1ac3e
WheelchairsWheelchairs are a way for some people to be independent, despite illnesses or injuries. Find out more in this article for kids.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/kids/wheelchairs.html/659ae94f-c1ee-40b7-a024-c6de75b25325
kh:age-allAgesOrAgeAgnostickh:clinicalDesignation-developmentalMedicinekh:clinicalDesignation-neurologykh:clinicalDesignation-orthopedicsNonSportsMedkh:genre-articlekh:primaryClinicalDesignation-neurologyBrain & Nervous Systemhttps://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/medical/brain/d6b00a11-9db0-403c-bc41-00bcdf022537Cerebral Palsy and Related Conditionshttps://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/cerebralpalsy-center/cp-relatedconditions/29cde641-247a-4fbf-8342-32f33b10fd2fHealth Problems of Preemieshttps://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/preventing-premature-birth/health-problems-of-preemies/9f1dabc6-56dd-4d0f-a7ae-c0083f79eeac