Hesperian Health Guides
Chapter 9: Cerebral Palsy
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Cerebral palsy means ‘brain paralysis’. It is a disability that affects movement and body position. It comes from brain damage that happened before the baby was born, at birth, or as a baby. The whole brain is not damaged, only parts of it, mainly parts that control movements. Once damaged, the parts of the brain do not recover, nor do they get worse. However, the movements, body positions, and related problems can be improved or made worse depending on how we treat the child and how damaged his or her brain happens to be. The earlier we start, the more improvement can be made.
In many countries cerebral palsy is the most frequent cause of physical disability. About 1 of every 300 babies is born with or develops cerebral palsy.