Daily Bulletin


  • Written by Katherine Weber

Cerebral palsy makes it difficult for some children to control their movements while others have difficulty moving at all. Someone with cerebral palsy may have difficulty talking, walking or may not be able to sit up without support. The disease is not progressive, which means it does not get worse as the child gets older but there could be physical effects that become more noticeable over time.

Common Physical Effects

Some physical effects are common in people with cerebral palsy. They include:

  • Floppiness

  • Movements that are slow, awkward or jerky

  • Muscle spasms

  • One movement results in another unwanted movement

  • Stiffness

  • Unwanted movements

  • Weakness

The fact is that cerebral palsy can be mild, moderate or severe and each person who has cerebral palsy may have different physical effects. However, there are physical effects that are more common in someone with cerebral palsy than in the general population.


According to the Centers for Disease Control, 41 percent of children who are diagnosed with cerebral palsy suffer from seizures. However, there is no way to determine which child with cerebral palsy will develop seizures. It is possible to control seizures with medication, however.

Impaired Eyesight

One of the most common eyesight problems that occurs with cerebral palsy is a squint, which can be correct with glasses. Some children need an operation if the squint is severe.

Cortical vision defect is a condition where the part of the brain that understands the images the child sees is not functioning as it should. The eyes may appear healthy, but the child cannot see correctly. This may lead to learning problems as the child may not be able to unscramble messages the brain receives, especially when it comes to reading.

Hearing Difficulties

Children who are diagnosed with athetoid cerebral palsy make erratic movements, especially when in motion. They often have severe hearing difficulties related to their cerebral palsy. This may be because this type of cerebral palsy is caused by damage to the basal ganglia, either before, during, or after birth. This can impact the face, causing uncontrollable movements of facial muscles as well as the tongue.

Spatial Perception

Another physical effect of cerebral palsy is issues with spatial perception. They have difficulty determining space between their own bodies and other objects. They have difficulty judging distance and are unable to visualize three-dimensional objects. It is related to an abnormality in the brain and has nothing to do with how intelligent the child may be.

Speech Issues

Chewing and swallowing are often difficult for children with cerebral palsy. Because speech requires control of the tongue, palate, voice-box and the small muscles in the mouth, a child with cerebral palsy may have speech problems. There are therapies available that can help improve verbal communication as well as technology that can help a child with cerebral palsy speech issues communicate.

Other Physical Problems

There are other physical problems that can occur in a child with cerebral palsy. They include:

  • Behavioral problems related to frustration

  • Chills

  • Constipation

  • Difficulty controlling body temperature

  • Lack of weight gain

  • Sleeplessness

In addition to these, co-occuring conditions that are not caused by cerebral palsy, but rather stemming from the same injuries that caused your child’s CP] may also be present. Many of these problems can be treated. It is important to remember that cerebral palsy comes in many shapes and forms each affecting the lives of sufferers differently.

If your child has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy and you believe it was caused by negligence or carelessness on the part of a medical professional, you may want to get legal help to determine your options. Consider contacting a lawyer who specializes in birth injuries so you can learn more about your family’s rights.

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