Copyright: UCPA, Inc., 1993.


Cerebral palsy is a condition caused when the brain gets hurt, or damaged. It usually happens before, during or just after a baby is born. Cerebral means brain. Palsy means that there is a problem with the way the muscles work. Sometimes cerebral palsy is called C.P. for short.

Our brains tell our muscles what to do. Our brains tell our bodies how to move our arms, turn our heads, walk across the room, or smile a huge smile. If part of our brain gets damaged, then we will have problems with the way parts of our bodies move. Depending on what part of the brain was damaged, a person with cerebral palsy could have trouble in walking, in talking, in sitting or in moving his or her arms.

A different part of our brain helps us to think and learn. C.P. usually does not affect this part of our brain. Most people with cerebral palsy have average or above average intelligence.

Cerebral palsy is not a disease. You can't catch cerebral Palsy from anyone. Cerebral palsy is a condition--something that happened.

Cerebral palsy does not get worse, and it does not get better. You don't "cure" cerebral palsy, but with therapy and training a person with C.P. can learn different ways of doing things.

About 3000 babies born each year have C.P., and about 500,000 to 700,000 people in the United States have cerebral palsy.

Source: The original version of this document was entitled "Fact Sheet on Cerebral Palsy," published as a Fact Sheet in 1993. The format of this article has been adapted for electronic readability however, the content has not been changed.

To secure a camera-ready, hard copy of this document, call, fax, write, or send an electronic mail message to:

United Cerebral Palsy Associations, Inc.
1522 "K" Street, N.W., Suite 1112
Washington, D.C. 20005
Phone: (800) USA-5-UCP or (202) 842-1266
Fax: (202) 842-3519
America Online Address: UCPA INC.