"Laughing Woman with Cerebral Palsy and Man" by autistic artist MissLunaRose

Cerebral palsy (CP) is a group of lifelong movement disorders. It usually becomes clear around age 2 or 3. It does not progress, i.e., a person with cerebral palsy is not expected to lose skills as they age.

There are many potential causes of CP. It may result from lack of oxygen to the brain during birth, infections, or injuries during birth. It can also be caused by brain damage due to severe childhood illnesses such as meningitis and severe dehydration.[1]

CP is lifelong and can be helped through therapy. Many adults with CP live full and happy lives.

Amy Sequenzia is one example of an autistic adult with CP.

Challenges and Treatments

CP is characterized by difficulty with motor skills. Early symptoms include a lack of coordination, an unusual gait (including crouching, dragging one leg or foot, and toe-walking), stiff or floppy muscles, and exaggerated reflexes.[2]

Some people with CP also experience seizures, intellectual disability, learning disabilities, scoliosis, and issues with speech, hearing, vision, and language.[1][3]

Physical and occupational therapy can help a person with CP gain skills and adapt. They may get speech therapy, medication for pain or spasm control, and in some cases surgery. Mobility equipment such as walkers and wheelchairs may improve mobility, and AAC can help if speaking is difficult.[2]

References

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