Cerebral Palsy Facts

facts about cerebral palsy

Cerebral Palsy (prounced: surr-REE-brull PAWL-zee)

This condition, commonly abbreviated as CP, is a result of an injury or trauma to the brain, which occurs before, during or shortly after birth.

  • There are three main types of CP: spastic, ataxic, and athetoid (or “dyskinetic”).[1]
  • Over 500,000 people in the U.S. currently have cerebral palsy. Each year, nearly 5,000 newborns & infants are diagnosed with this condition. [2]
  • Babies born prematurely between the 34th and 36th week of pregnancy are three times more likely to be diagnosed with cerebral palsy. [3]
  • Based on a 2003 study, the lifetime cost associated with caring for someone with cerebral palsy is approximately $1.25 million (adjusted for inflation). These costs are before you factor in emergency care and the lost wages of the caregiver, among other variables. [4]
  • 86% of those with cerebral palsy can suffer from oromotor (also known as: “oral motor”, “oral-motor” or “oro-motor”). This is an inability to control facial muscles and can result in difficulty breathing, swallowing and communicating. [5]
  • 5% to 8% of babies born weighing less than three pounds (3 lbs.) develop cerebral palsy and they are 25% more likely to develop cerebral palsy over infants born full term at or over five pounds (5 lbs.). [6]
  • It is estimated that in 8-year-old children with cerebral palsy: 56% will walk independently; 33% will have limited or no walking ability; and 11% will utilize a hand-held mobility device. [7]
  • For every 1,000 children born in the U.S., approximately 2 to 3 will be diagnosed with cerebral palsy. [8]
  • Approximately 35% – 50% of those with cerebral palsy will have a seizure disorder and some level of severe mental impairment. [9]
  • Cerebral palsy is diagnosed less often in girls than it is in boys. [10]


  1. What is cerebral palsy?. Retrieved on April 11, 2012 from http://kidshealth.org/teen/diseases_conditions/brain_nervous/story_cerebral_palsy.html
  2. Ruben, Rita. Cerebral palsy more likely in late preterm babies. USA Today on the Web Dec. 2008. Retrieved on April 12, 2012, from http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/2008-12-11-preterm-cerebral-palsy_n.htm.
  3. January 30, 2004. “Economic Costs Associated with Mental Retardation, Cerebral Palsy, Hearing Loss, and Vision Impairment — United States, 2003.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved on April 12, 2012, from http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5303a4.htm

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