Cerebral Palsy

Understanding Starts Here

Understanding Cerebral Palsy

CP Support Canada is a place where you can ask questions, connect with families facing similar challenges and gain insight to help a child with cerebral palsy thrive.

Cerebral palsy (“CP”) is a condition resulting from injury to the developing brain during pregnancy, labour and delivery or in the newborn period. The word “cerebral” refers to the brain, and “palsy” refers to weakness or difficulty controlling movements of the body.

CP is the most common physical disability in children. About 1 out of every 400 individuals in Canada are diagnosed with cerebral palsy. CP is typically diagnosed in the first 2 years of life.

The severity and specific ways in which a child is affected by CP varies from child to child. In addition to having difficulty controlling the movements of their body, a child with cerebral palsy may also have other related conditions, including intellectual disability, seizures, problems with vision, hearing or speech, abnormalities of the spine (scoliosis), digestion problems and/or behavioural problems.

Understanding Treatment for Cerebral Palsy

While there is no cure for cerebral palsy, there are a number of treatments which can improve your child’s function and quality of life.

Each child with cerebral palsy is unique and whether or not a particular therapy, medical intervention or medication will be beneficial will depend upon that child’s age, the ways in which his or her cerebral palsy affects how their body functions and their overall health.

A child with a diagnosis of cerebral palsy will typically receive some physiotherapy, occupational therapy and speech language therapy, as well as various medications to manage their tone, seizures, digestion issues including reflux, and difficulty with sleep. Below is some information about the types of treatment parents often have questions about. Consult your pediatrician or pediatric physiatrist to help you decide what treatments will be most beneficial for your child.

There are many beneficial treatments for children with cerebral palsy. The best approach for your child will often depend on a number of factors including access to the treatment, costs, your child’s needs and your child’s abilities.

It is also important to listen to your child’s perspective on therapeutic interventions.

A helpful guide to navigating the process of treatment is to follow the F-words of childhood neurodisability developed by Dr. Rosenbaum – namely function, family, fitness, fun, friends and future.

Disclaimer: The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal or medical advice. You should consult a lawyer for advice regarding your child’s legal rights, and a health care provider regarding your child’s health.

CP Smile Project

The CP Smile Project is a community project that helps ensure children with cerebral palsy have access to recreational opportunities that allow them to engage in play and community involvement. We give monthly bursaries to families to help them provide the support needed for their child to engage in play and have fun.