What is Cerebral Palsy?
Cerebral Palsy (CP) affects a person’s ability to move and hold a position. It can be as mild as a weakness in one hand, ranging to affect all areas of the person’s body, which impacts on their ability to swallow, speak, move and sit.
About half of children with CP in Western Australia are diagnosed in the first 12 months of their life. The diagnosis of CP is normally made by a paediatrician or neurologist based on a clinical examination of the child, when he or she does not achieve motor milestones (for example, sitting, pulling to stand, walking).
Key facts about cerebral palsy:
- CP is a permanent but not unchanging condition.
- There is no known cure, but there are treatments to improve many of the symptoms.
- There is no pre-birth test.
- The rate of cerebral palsy worldwide is approximately 2 per 1000 live births.
- Over 80 children with CP are born in Western Australia each year.
- CP is not a disease and it is not contagious.
Early intervention for children with CP can help them reach their full potential. Appropriate therapy and equipment can greatly increase children’s abilities to participate in daily activities and improve the quality of life of both the child with CP and their family.