Cerebral palsy refers to a group of disorders that affect a person's ability to move and to maintain balance and posture. Cerebral palsy (CP) is a childhood condition in which there is a motor disability (palsy) caused by a static, non-progressive lesion in the brain (cerebral). The causative event has to occur in early childhood. More than 80% of people with cerebral palsy developed it either before they were born or before they were a month old. In some cases, the cause of the brain abnormality is unknown.
Cerebral palsy is caused by brain damage that affects a child's ability to control his or her muscles. The part of the brain that is damaged determines what parts of the body are affected. There are many possible causes - some of which affect how the child's brain develops during the first 6 months of pregnancy. These causes include genetic conditions and problems with the blood supply to the brain. Other causes of cerebral palsy occur after the brain has developed. These can happen during late pregnancy, delivery, or the first years of the child's life. This may include lack of oxygen, bacterial meningitis and other infections, bleeding in the brain, severe jaundice, and head injury.
Cerebral palsy is typically associated with higher than ordinary mortality. Much research has documented a positive correlation between the severity of symptoms and higher morality rates. Some of the factors documented to be associated with survival include: mobility (holding one's head/chest up, rolling, and walking), feeding ability (g-tube, fed by others, or self feeding), sensory impairments, and epilepsy.