Prognosis

Cerebral palsy is not a progressive disorder. A person with the disorder may improve somewhat during childhood, if he or she receives extensive care from specialists. While the brain injury is non-progressive, evidence suggests that functional decline occurs in persons with CP in adulthood. Functional decline can encompass decrease in range of motion, decrease or loss of ambulation, and increased pain. In essence, it appears that adults with CP undergo an accelerated aging process compared to their non-disabled peers. Onset of arthritis and osteoporosis can occur much sooner in adults with CP. Further research is needed on adults with CP, as the current literature body is highly focused on the pediatric patient.

The ability to live independently with cerebral palsy varies widely depending on severity of the disability. Some individuals with CP will require personal assistant services for all activities of daily living. Others can live semi-independently in the community with support for certain activities. Still others can live with complete independence. The need for personal assistance often changes with increasing age and the associated functional decline. However, in all except the most severe of cases, persons with CP can expect to have a normal life expectancy. As the condition does not directly affect reproductive function, many persons with CP can have children and parent successfully.

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