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Cerebral palsy (CP) is the most common physical disability of childhood. The term CP itself is an umbrella term for a group of disorders that affect body movement and posture as a result of damage to a baby’s developing brain. There are many causes for CP, but all occur either during pregnancy, birth or shortly after birth. Common causes include differences in brain development, infection, or stroke. Oxygen deprivation is now understood to be accountable for only a small percentage of cases of CP; often, the cause is unknown. Although CP is a lifelong condition that can’t be reversed, children with the diagnosis can lead rich, fulfilling lives with the right medical and surgical management.
Sometimes, cerebral palsy occurs as a complication of another condition, like premature birth, low birthweight or neurological trauma. However, it often occurs for no identifiable reason.
The information on the following pages will help you learn the basics about CP and know what to expect in the days and months ahead.
Here in Boston Children's Hospital Cerebral Palsy Program, we’re dedicated to helping kids and adults with CP enjoy a great quality of life.
Since “cerebral palsy” is actually a term that covers several different types of brain injury, it's important to seek treatment from experts who understand:
Our program provides interdisciplinary evaluation and treatment for children with cerebral palsy and other neuromuscular conditions. We combine expertise in orthopedic surgery and neurosurgery, among several other specialties, to improve the functional capabilities of more than 2,000 patients of all ages each year.
Our team is dedicated to delivering knowledgeable, compassionate care in a family-centered atmosphere. We are focused on maximizing your child’s functional independence, stability and quality of life while offering support for your entire family.
Reviewed by Brian Snyder, MD, PhD, and Benjamin Warf, MD
© Boston Children's Hospital; posted in 2011
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