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Cerebral palsy is the most common childhood disability in the United States, affecting an estimated 764,000 children and adults in the U.S. It is a developmental disorder of posture and movement caused by an injury to the brain occurring during fetal developmental, during or shortly after birth or during infancy. The damage to the brain cannot be repaired, however cerebral palsy is not progressive. The child with cerebral palsy will become an adolescent and later an adult with cerebral palsy.
Cerebral palsy is not a specific diagnosis with a specific cause. Rather, it is a description of a group of clinical features that occur when there is an injury to the developing brain.
Each person with cerebral palsy is unique. Depending on the location and extent of the injury, the clinical features may vary from barely imperceptible to severe. Cerebral palsy can affect movement, balance, speech, vision and coordination. The damage to the brain may also result in intellectual impairment, seizures, and problems with learning, eating and breathing.