11 Things to Know about Cerebral Palsy

  1. Many children with CP have one or more additional conditions or diseases along with their CP, known as co-occurring conditions. For example, about 4 in 10 children with CP also have epilepsy and about 1 in 10 have autism spectrum disorder.
  2. Most CP is related to brain damage that happened before or during birth and it is called congenital CP. The following factors can increase the risk for congenital CP:
    • Being born too small
    • Being born too early
    • Being born a twin or other multiple birth
    • Being conceived by in vitro fertilization or other assisted reproductive technology
    • Having a mother who had an infection during pregnancy
    • Having kernicterus (a type of brain damage that can happen when severe newborn jaundice goes untreated)
    • Having complications during birth
  3. A small percentage of CP is caused by brain damage that happens more than 28 days after birth. This is called acquired CP. The following factors can increase the risk for acquired CP:
    • Having a brain infection, such as meningitis
    • Suffering a serious head injury
  4. The specific cause of CP in most children is unknown.
  5. CP is typically diagnosed during the first or second year after birth. If a child’s symptoms are mild, it is sometimes difficult to make a diagnosis until the child is a few years older.
  6. With the appropriate services and support, children and adults with CP can stay well, active, and a part of the community.

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