What is cerebral palsy?

Cerebral palsy is a physical disability that affects movement and posture. Cerebral palsy is an umbrella term that refers to a group of disorders affecting a person’s ability to move. Cerebral means ‘of the brain’ and palsy refers to ‘a lack of muscle control’.

Cerebral palsy in most cases is caused by an injury to the developing brain either during pregnancy or shortly after birth. It is a permanent life-long condition, but generally does not worsen over time.

Cerebral palsy affects body movement, muscle control, muscle coordination, muscle tone, reflex, posture and balance. People who have cerebral palsy may also have visual, learning, hearing, speech, epilepsy and intellectual impairments.

Although there is no cure for cerebral palsy, there are many ways to support a person with cerebral palsy to lead a full and happy life and reach their potential.

Cerebral palsy is the most common physical disability in childhood


people are living with CP in Australia

17 million


1 in 700

Australian babies is diagnosed with CP
people are living with CP in Australia

Services and support

We offer a range of services to support people living with cerebral palsy and their families, 
including therapy and intervention, assistive technology, supported employment, recreation programs and more.


  1. ACPR. (2023). Australian Cerebral Palsy Register Report Birth Years 1995 – 2016: Click to download report.
  2. Access Economics. (2008). The Economic Impact of Cerebral Palsy in Australia in 2007. 
  3. Novak, I., Hines, M., Goldsmith, S., & Barclay, R. (2012). Clinical prognostic messages from a systematic review on cerebral palsy. Pediatrics, 130(5), e1285-1312. doi: 10.1542/peds.2012-0924 
  4. Rosenbaum, P., Paneth, N., Leviton, A., Goldstein, M., Bax, M., Damiano, D., Dan, B & Jacobsson, B. (2007). A report: the definition and classification of cerebral palsy April 2006. Developmental Medicine & Child Neurology, 49 (Issue Supplement 109), 8-14.