The Facts

The Facts

  • Cerebral palsy is an 'umbrella' description for a group of non-progressive disorders of movement and posture caused by damage to the developing brain.
  • These disorders become manifest early in life and are a permanent and nonprogressive condition.
  • Cerebral palsy is not a disease and it is not contagious.
  • Cerebral palsy is not hereditary or passed from one generation to the next.
  • Most children with cerebral palsy are healthy and can expect a normal life span.
  • The aetiology of a large number of cases of cerebral palsy is unable to be determined - RCH (2005) Third Report of the Victorian Cerebral Palsy Register. 
  • Prenatal events are now thought to be responsible for approximately 75% of cases of cerebral palsy - RCH (2005) Third Report of the Victorian Cerebral Palsy Register. 
  • The risk of cerebral palsy rises as birth weight falls.
  • Associated disabilities such as epilepsy, intellectual, visual or auditory impairment may also be present with cerebral palsy.
  • The first medical reference to cerebral palsy was by English surgeon W J Little in 1862.
  • Of every 1000 live births in Victoria, at least 2 children will be diagnosed as having cerebral palsy before the age of 5 years.
  • Cerebral palsy is the most common form of childhood physical disability, affecting about 34,000 Australians.
  • CP is in the top five most costly conditions on a per capita basis of 15 conditions studied by Access Economics in recent years (2008).
  • The current annual financial cost of cerebral palsy is about $43,000 per person, with the cost to the individual estimated at 36.7% of the total – or $306 per week (2007).
  • Most people with CP are healthy and have the capacity to participate in meaningful studies, hobbies and employment.
  • Cerebral palsy doesn't actually get worse over time - it's just that the symptoms may change, or it may become more noticeable.
  • People sometimes think that those with cerebral palsy can't understand them. This isn't true - people with cerebral palsy may have trouble moving or communicating but they're still intelligent and aware. 
  • In Australia, around 600 to 700 infants are born with CP each year.  
  • In Australia, it is estimated that a child is born every 18 hours that has or will develop CP (that is one in every 400 babies).  

 

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