Cerebral Palsy Law and Legal Definition

Cerebral palsy (CP) is a very broad term that is used to describe a group of chronic, non-hereditary condition of varying severity that are believed to be the result of faulty development of, or damage to, the motor areas in the brain, which then causes a disruption in the brain's ability to control muscular movement and posture. The brain damage and/or developmental problems that cause CP can take place before, during, or after birth, and can affect muscular control and movement in one or more parts of the body. Depending on the parts of the brain that are involved, affected individuals may also experience speech control problems, but will often enjoy very normal mental capabilities. Some of the causes of cerebral palsy that have been identified through research, and which to some degree are considered to be preventable or treatable, are: jaundice, head injury, Rh blood factor incompatibility, and German measles (rubella).

Symptoms of cerebral palsy will typically appear in the first three years of life. Symptoms of cerebral palsy may vary over time, and can differ significantly from person to person, though it is generally not considered to be progressive. Children with cerebral palsy areoften slow in reaching developmental milestones that involve muscular control and coordination, such as learning to roll over, sit, crawl, smile, or walk. Although some individuals with cerebral palsy will may also have other disorders, including seizures or mental impairment, cerebral palsy does not always result in a debilitating handicap.