All people with
cerebral palsy (CP) have some problems with body
movement and posture, but many babies do not show signs of CP at birth. Parents
and caregivers may notice the
first signs of CP, such as the baby not rolling over,
sitting, crawling, or walking at the expected ages.
Signs of CP
may become more obvious as the child grows. Some developmental problems may not
appear until after a baby's first year. The brain injury that causes CP does
not get worse over time, but its effects can appear, change, or become more
severe as the child gets older.
The brain is made of different kinds of cells. Childhood brain tumors are grouped and treated based on the type of cell the cancer formed in and where the tumor began growing in the CNS. Some types of tumors are divided into subtypes based on how the tumor looks under a microscope. See Table 1 for a list of tumor types and staging and treatment information for newly diagnosed and recurrent childhood brain tumors.
Table 1. The Staging and Treatment of Newly Diagnosed or Recurrent Tumors According...
The specific effects of CP depend
on its type and severity, the level of mental impairment, and whether other
complications develop or other medical conditions are present.
type of CP and how much of the body that is affected will determine a
Most people with CP have a type of
spastic cerebral palsy. This can affect the whole body
but may only affect parts of the body in some children. For example, a child
with spastic cerebral palsy may develop symptoms mostly in one leg or one side
of the body. Most children usually learn ways to accommodate for their
handicaps. Some people can live on their own, and others live and work in
situations that provide some level of assistance. When both legs are affected,
children can move around with the help of a scooter board (a device used to
self-propel while lying down), modified stroller, wheelchair, or other special
Total body cerebral palsy causes the most severe
problems. Severe spastic CP and athetoid (dyskinetic) CP are types of total
body CP. Many of those affected are not able to take care of themselves, either
because of severe physical disabilities or
intellectual disability. But some people can live on their
own with the help of family members and/or health care aides.
Complications, such as
seizures, and other long-term physical effects of CP
can be difficult to predict until a child is 1 to 3 years old. But
sometimes such predictions are not possible until a child reaches school age
when learning, communication skills, and other abilities can be measured. The
amount of help and supervision needed depends on the number and severity of
The severity of mental impairment, if any, is a strong
predictor of daily functioning. A little more than half of people who have CP have some type of intellectual disability. Children with spastic quadriplegia usually have the most severe impairment.
Other medical conditions, such as vision or hearing
problems, are often associated with CP. Sometimes these conditions are known
right away, and in other cases they are not detected until a child gets
Also, just like people with normal physical development,
people with CP have
social and emotional concerns throughout their lives.
Because their physical limitations may add to these concerns, people with CP
need the awareness and consideration of others.
Most children with cerebral palsy live
to adulthood and have a somewhat shorter-than-normal life span. A lot
depends on what type of CP it is, how severe it is, and what other problems arise from CP. Most adults with the mild or moderate
form-and some with the severe form-live independently and have jobs.
Opportunities for independent living and employment for adults with CP have
improved. These opportunities are a result of better home support services and
advances in technology, such as computers to assist with speech, powered
wheelchairs, and other devices.