Cerebral palsy is one of the most common congenital (existing at or before birth) disorders of childhood. About 500,000 children in the United States have the condition.

The three types of CP are:

  1. spastic cerebral palsy — causes stiffness and movement difficulties

  2. athetoid cerebral palsy — leads to involuntary and uncontrolled movements

  3. ataxic cerebral palsy — causes a problem with balance and depth perception

Since cerebral palsy affects muscle control and coordination, even simple movements — like standing still — are difficult. Other functions that also involve motor skills and muscles — such as breathing, bladder and bowel control, eating, and talking — also may be affected when a child has CP.

Cerebral palsy does not get worse over time.


Concerns In a Baby Younger Than 6 Months of Age

  • His head lags when you pick him up while he’s lying on his back

  • He feels stiff

  • He feels floppy

  • When held cradled in your arms, he seems to overextend his back and neck, constantly acting as if he is pushing away from you

  • When you pick him up, his legs get stiff and they cross or scissor


Concerns In a Baby Older Than 6 Months of Age


  • She doesn’t roll over in either direction

  • She cannot bring her hands together

  • She has difficulty bringing her hands to her mouth

  • She reaches out with only one hand while keeping the other fisted

Concerns In a Baby Older Than 10 Months of Age

  • He crawls in a lopsided manner, pushing off with one hand and leg while dragging the opposite hand and leg

  • He scoots around on his buttocks or hops on his knees, but does not crawl on all fours

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