Cerebral Palsy

*Over 17 million live with cerebral palsy worldwide.*

*1 in 2 people with cerebral palsy live with chronic pain.*

What is cerebral palsy?

  • Cerebral palsy (also known as CP) is a neurological disorder that affects a person's body movements and muscle coordination.
  • CP is NOT an issue with muscle or nerves but rather an abnormality that affects the brains ability to control muscles.
  • CP can affect not only a child's physical abilities, but due to it being damage to the cerebrum (brain) it can also impact a child's cognitive abilities
  • CP is often diagnosed in children from birth to a few years old.       
  • CP is unique to every individual.  No two cases are the same.  A person can have a mild, moderate or severe diagnosis.

*60% of babies with cerebral palsy are born at full term.*

What are the causes of cerebral palsy?

  • Cerebral palsy is the result of the brain not forming correctly or having damage done to the brain.
  • Damage that causes CP can happen before, during, or after birth.
  • The severity of a person's cerebral palsy is a result of the location and/or timing of the injury.

What are the symptoms of cerebral palsy?

  • A child may be slow to achieve their physical milestones. A child with CP will crawl, walk or even talk later than other children.
  • When a child starts to crawl or walk, it may be done with unusual body movements.
  • The muscles of a child with CP may appear to be extremely rigid or floppy.  
  • A child may favor one side of the body over the other.
  • CP can cause balance issues or a limited range of motion.
  • Other symptoms may include: bladder control problems, seizures, hearing or eyesight issues, and problems swallowing

*1 in 5 with CP cannot talk.*

What are some teaching strategies for a child with cerebral palsy?

  • The most important thing to do when teaching a child with cerebral palsy is to LEARN, LEARN, LEARN about the disorder.
  • Make sure as the teacher, you are aware of your student's abilities.
  • Encourage other students to include everyone in the classroom.
  • Be flexible!
  • Be conscience that a child with CP may become easily frustrated.  While they may not physically be able to keep up with the other children, mentally they are aware.
  • Make sure to include a variety of gross motor skills for all the students in your classroom.

*1 in 3 with CP can't walk.*

What else do you need to know?

  • Cerebral palsy is not a disease.  It cannot be caught or given.  
  • CP is not curable but very treatable.  There are many ways to treat CP in order to help a person reach their highest level of ability.
  • Children born with cerebral palsy can live well into adulthood and in most cases it not considered to be a life-threatening disorder.  
  • Cerebral palsy is not a disorder that will progress over time.

*Cerebral palsy is the most common physical disability in children.*

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