What Happens To Someone With Cerebral Palsy Over Time?

This condition encompasses a wide variety of causes, severity and associated issues. Some individuals have severe impairments in motor function while others have mild impairments. Some have learning issues, vision problems or hearing concerns. Some children with cerebral palsy will show improvement, some will remain the same, and some will get worse due to medical complications or orthopedic issues. Such diversity means that outcomes vary. There are some caveats that help to guide evaluation of prognosis:

  • The child’s motor (movement) abilities at age two can often predict how well the child will walk and move as he or she ages. However, since every child with cerebral palsy is different, it is not easy to make a prediction of whether or not a child will make progress.
  • Children with low IQs do not do as well with children with higher IQs.
  • Children who undergo treatment often do better than children who are not treated.

People with cerebral palsy need the opportunity for full inclusion in society and optimal independence. Regardless of condition severity, all children with cerebral palsy should take part in their community and attend school. Many people who have cerebral palsy hold jobs, get married, raise families and live in independently as adults. 

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American Academy for Cerebral Palsy and Developmental Medicine

United Cerebral Palsy

National Information Center for Children and Youth with Disabilities