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Condition

Pediatric Cerebral Palsy

Key Points About Cerebral Palsy in Children

  • Cerebral palsy is a brain (neurological) disorder that causes problems with normal motor function. It affects body movement, muscle control, coordination, reflexes, posture, and balance. 
  • In many cases, the exact cause of cerebral palsy isn't known. Most cases happen before or during birth (congenital cerebral palsy). Cerebral palsy that occurs after birth usually happens from an infection or head injury.
  • Cerebral palsy can range in severity, but it doesn’t get worse over time. With diagnosis and treatment, children can learn how to manage their condition.
  • Symptoms can vary in each child and depend on the severity of cerebral palsy. Many children with cerebral palsy have normal intelligence. A child may have muscle weakness, poor motor control, or shaking (spasticity) of the arms or legs. A child may also have stiff legs or clenched fists.
  • Cerebral palsy is a lifelong condition that doesn't have a cure. A child is treated by a healthcare team. Treatment may include rehab, positioning aids, braces, splints, medicines or surgery.

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Frequently Asked Questions

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Movement Disorders Treatment at Children's National Hospital

The Movement Disorders Program at Children’s National offers evaluation, diagnosis and treatment to more than 400 children each year with conditions that affect the speed, quality and ease of their movement. Discover more about the treatments we offer.

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PATIENT STORY

Alicia's Story

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Providers Who Treat Cerebral Palsy

    Departments that Treat Cerebral Palsy

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    Orthopaedic Surgery and Sports Medicine

    From sprains and strains to complex congenital conditions, Children's National Hospital offers one of the most experienced pediatric orthopaedic practices in the nation, with experience in treating all areas from head to toe.

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    Movement Disorders Program

    The Movement Disorders Program at Children's National Hospital offers evaluation, diagnosis and treatment to more than 400 children each year with conditions that affect the speed, quality and ease of their movement.

    Limb Lengthening

    Using a family-centered approach, Children's National delivers specialized care to help children with limb length discrepancies achieve equal limb length.