Resources for Cerebral Palsy, Including Information in Spanish | DC Metro Area Medical Malpractice Law Blog

By Catherine Bertram

Cerebral means having to do with the brain. Palsy means weakness or problems with using the muscles.

A recent CDC study shows that the average prevalence of CP is 3.3 per 1,000 8-year-old children or 1 in 303 children.   Click here to listen to a podcast on Cerebral Palsy.

What Are Some of the Signs of Cerebral Palsy?

According to the CDC, “the signs of cerebral palsy vary greatly.  The main sign is a delay reaching the motor or movement milestones. Click here for a milestone checklist and here for the spanish version.

A child over 2 months with cerebral palsy might:

  • Have difficulty controlling head when picked up
  • Have stiff legs that cross or “scissor” when picked up

A child over 6 months with cerebral palsy might:

  • Continue to have a hard time controlling head when picked up
  • Reach with only one hand while keeping the other in a fist

A child over 10 months with cerebral palsy might:

  • Crawl by pushing off with one hand and leg while dragging the opposite hand and leg
  • Not sit by himself or herself

A child over 12 months with cerebral palsy might:

  • Not crawl
  • Not be able to stand with support

A child over 24 months with cerebral palsy might:

  • Not be able to walk
  • Not be able to push a toy with wheels”

What Causes Cerebral Palsy?

Cerebral palsy is caused by a problem in the brain. There are multiple possible causes including problems with the blood supply to the brain before or during child birth, bleeding in the brain, lack of oxygen, and head injury.

If you think your child has cerebral palsy talk to your pediatrician right away to get a thorough evaluation.  If you think the cause may be a result of child birth you can contact us for a free confidential medical-legal evaluation.

About the author:

Catherine Bertram is board certified in civil trials and was recently nominated as a 2010 Super Lawyer for Washington, D.C.  Ms. Bertram has 20 years of trial experience and is unique in that she was formerly the Director of Risk Management for Georgetown University Hospital so she brings a wealth of knowledge to her practice including how hospitals should be run and what doctors and nurses can do to protect patients.   She is a partner with the firm and devotes her practice to the representation of patients and families of loved ones who have been injured or lost due to medical errors.  Ms. Bertram lectures regularly to lawyers and health care providers, nationally and locally,  regarding patient safety, medical negligence and other related issues. She has also recently published a chapter in a medical textbook.   She can be reached by email at or by phone 202-822-1875 in her office in Washington, D.C.