Cerebral Palsy Facts and Statistics

Cerebral Palsy Basics

Boy with cerebral palsy walking with the support of crutches
Cerebral Palsy Information. Huntstock / Getty Images

Cerebral palsy is a group of disorders that affects a person's brain (cerebral) and the way that they use their muscles (palsy).

Children with cerebral palsy can sometimes have very mild symptoms, such as being a little clumsy when they run. Others may have more severe symptoms, such as not being able to walk at all.

Cerebral Palsy Facts

Children with cerebral palsy typically are delayed in meeting developmental milestones, such as holding their head steady, rolling over, crawling, sitting up, standing with support, or walking.

  • Cerebral palsy can be caused by a number of different things during pregnancy or a baby's first year of life, including infections, pregnancy problems, severe jaundice (kernicterus), child abuse, strokes, head injuries, and genetic disorders.
  • Premature babies and multiple births (twins, triplets, etc.) are at increased risk for cerebral palsy.
  • Some causes of cerebral palsy, such as from kernicterus and most head injuries, can be prevented. Adequate prenatal care and early recognition and treatment of infections may also help to prevent cerebral palsy.
  • The Apgar score can not predict if a child will have cerebral palsy.
  • There is no cure for cerebral palsy.
  • Cerebral palsy does not worsen over time and symptoms often get better with physical therapy, occupational therapy, and other treatments.

Cerebral Palsy Statistics

  • Cerebral palsy affects about 1 in 278 children.
  • There are about 764,000 children and adults in the United States with cerebral palsy.
  • Each year, about 8,000 babies and infants are diagnosed with cerebral palsy.
  • Half of people with cerebral palsy use assistive devices, including braces, walkers, and wheelchairs, to help them be more mobile.
  • About 30% of children with cerebral palsy have seizures.


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