Cerebral palsy: what parents and doctors want to knowBMJ 2003; 326 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.326.7396.970 (Published 03 May 2003) Cite this as: BMJ 2003;326:970
- Peter Rosenbaum, professor of paediatrics (firstname.lastname@example.org)
- CanChild Centre for Childhood Disability Research, McMaster University, Hamilton, ON, Canada L8S 1C7
- Accepted 6 March 2003
Cerebral palsy is the most common physical disability in childhood. Children with cerebral palsy usually survive into adulthood, and the condition is often poorly understood in adulthood. Recognising and managing cerebral palsy's many important comorbidities is as important as treating the motor disabilities. Recent advances in the understanding of cerebral palsy include new ways of thinking about disability; recognition of causal pathways; and improvements in measurement, classification, and prognostication. Challenges include ensuring the wellbeing of families as well as children; tackling the issues faced lifelong by people with cerebral palsy; and the continuing need for primary, secondary, and tertiary prevention of the effects of cerebral palsy on people's lives.
Cerebral palsies are neurodevelopmental conditions, are the commonest “physical” disabilities in childhood, and severely affect a child's development
Comorbidities include epilepsy, learning difficulties, behavioural challenges, and sensory impairments and are at least as important as the motor disabilities
Advances in research are increasing our understanding of causal pathways, opportunities for primary prevention, and the value of specific intervention strategies
Cerebral palsy cannot be cured, but a host of interventions can improve functional abilities, participation, and quality of life
These conditions need to be recognised as involving the whole family, and management should always occur in the context of family needs, values, and abilities
The needs of adults with cerebral palsy, who currently are underemployed and face major barriers in the community, must now be tackled
What is cerebral palsy?
Cerebral palsy is “an umbrella term covering a group of non-progressive, but often changing, motor impairment syndromes secondary to lesions or …