Cerebral palsy, or CP, is a group of disorders that affect balance, movement, and muscle tone. “Cerebral” means the disorder is related to the brain, and “palsy” refers to weakness or a muscle problem.
CP starts in the area of the brain that controls the ability to move muscles. Cerebral palsy can happen when that part of the brain doesn’t develop as it should, or when it is damaged right around the time of birth or very early in life.
Most people with cerebral palsy are born with it. That’s called “congenital” CP. But it can also start after birth, in which case it’s called “acquired” CP.
People with cerebral palsy can have mild issues with muscle control, or it could be so severe that they can’t walk. Some people with CP have difficulty speaking. Others have intellectual disabilities, while many have normal intelligence.