One can define cerebral palsy as a neurological disorder. This is a simple and straightforward definition of the condition. For parents of children with the disorder however, a more comprehensive definition is needed. It is easier to understand cerebral palsy when one defines it through its causes, symptoms, types and diagnosis.


The causes of congenital cerebral palsy are not fully understood. It is quite possible though that certain factors may contribute to its development. These factors may include Rh incompatibility between mother and child, maternal infection with rubella, and a lack of nutrients and oxygen during fetal development. In rare cases, an infant may also develop the condition shortly after birth. This may happen when there is head trauma or a lack of oxygen during birth.

Researchers who define cerebral palsy also know that the condition can emerge after birth. This can happen if a baby suffers from bacterial or viral infections. Cerebral palsy can also be the result of severe injury to the head.


There are different types of cerebral palsy. Information about the various types will also help parents define cerebral palsy more accurately. Treatment of the condition will depend on the type.

· Spastic- This is the most common type of cerebral palsy. At the most, ¾ of individuals with cerebral palsy have this type. This type results in the stiffening of muscles. The muscles are most often unable to relax. The condition may affect one side of the body, two limbs, three limbs or all four limbs.

· Ataxic- This is not a very common type with only around ten in one hundred of those with cerebral palsy having it. This type affects a person’s coordination, balance and perception of depth. Hence, a person who is affected by it may not be able to walk following a straight path.

· Athetotic- This is also known as the dyskinetic type. Those who have this may show slow movements that they cannot control.

· Mixed- Those with this type of cerebral palsy have two or all three types of the condition. They may therefore also show mixed symptoms. Some other symptoms may include asymmetrical gait, drooling, speech difficulties, alternating stiff and soft muscles, seizures, spasms and difficulty with swallowing.


It may take time to detect or define cerebral palsy in infants and babies. The condition may actually be only apparent after the first few months or years. Depending on the age of the baby or child, imaging tests such as MRI scan, CT scan and ultrasound may be used. Most often though, these tests along with other tests may really be used to rule out other conditions.

Specialists such as developmental doctors and neurologists may have to observe a baby. They often check the reflexes and the muscle tone to help find out if a baby could possibly have cerebral palsy.
There is currently no way to cure cerebral palsy. By arriving at a comprehensive way to define cerebral palsy however, parents can also find treatment options. Having your baby or child treated through therapeutic means can improve his quality of life.

Cerebral Palsy Therapy Tip #1

Get Help – Taking care of someone with cerebral palsy is a lot of hard work. Occasionally you have to take a break and spend some time alone. Ask family and friends for help and teach them how to do what you do so you can get away for a while.

Cerebral Palsy Therapy Tip #2

Stay Positive – Cerebral palsy is not a disease and will not get progressively worse. Accepting the condition for what it is and keeping a positive outlook will make life easier for you and the person you are caring for.