Cerebral palsy (CP) describes a group of motor impairment syndromes secondary to a wide range of genetic and acquired disorders of early brain development. This definition allows inclusion of new genetic, metabolic, and other causes of CP that may be discovered in the future and serves as an ongoing reminder to clinicians to remain vigilant to the diagnostic challenges in this group of children. Correct diagnosis has important ramifications for treatment, prognosis, and recurrence risk. Although comprehensive longitudinal studies are limited, the majority of children grow into adulthood, actively participating in societal life but facing specific, recognized challenges. Despite a broad range of widely applied and accepted medical and rehabilitative interventions for children with CP, there is often variability in use and inconsistency in outcome. Natural history can be positively affected by improvements in delivering clinical services, enhancing self-management, improving decision support for providers, developing clinical information systems, and enhancing the organization of healthcare delivery. Children with CP develop to their full potential when treatment programs optimize motor capabilities, minimize orthopedic deformities, and address associated impairments.
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