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Cerebral Palsy Fact Sheet For Teachers

Updated on December 26, 2012

Author’s note: I put this together for teachers as part of a graduate school project. The tips are general to CP so keep in mind that all students with disabilities are different. What works with one will not work with another but this is a good place to start.

Cerebral palsy is a group of disorders that affect a person's ability to move and stay balanced due to a brain injury. It is not contagious and it does not get worse over time. Each person with cerebral palsy will be affected differently.

There are three kinds of CP. Most people have a combination of types.

  • Spastic (pronounced: spas-tik) cerebral palsy: People with this form of CP have difficulty moving or their movements are stiff. Between 70% and 80% of people with CP have this type.
  • Athetoid (pronounced: ah-thuh-toid) cerebral palsy: People with this type of CP have difficulty controlling movement and may have involuntary body movements.
  • Ataxic (pronounced: ah-tak-sik) cerebral palsy: People with this form of CP have problems with balance, coordination, and depth perception; their movements often seem shaky.

Students with CP may have problems walking, eating, speaking, or writing. Some have learning disabilities or behavior problems, but many do not. Some also have other medical problems, such as seizures or epilepsy, hearing impairment, and speech problems. These students generally have normal achieving cognitive abilities.

Puberty may be particularly challenging for teens with CP. Rapid growth can cause weight gain and clumsiness in any teen, but can make it even more difficult for someone with CP to move around. A person's muscles can also become tighter as the bones grow, which can restrict movement even more.

Easy Classroom Adaptations For Students with Cerebral Palsy.

1. Allow verbal responses rather than written ones.

2. Allow students to use a laptop computer.

3. Partner students with CP with other children for classroom activities like cutting and pasting.

4. Allow extra time for completing an assignment.

5. Some students might want to record the lesson to listen to later.

Resources for Students about Cerebral Palsy

Elementary School Students-


Gravigan, Christina. Classroom Adaptations for Students with Cerebral Palsy. (28 April, 2009). Retrieved from

Cerebral Palsy. Teens Health. (2010). Retrieved 1 December, 2010 from


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    • What's News profile image

      What's News 7 years ago

      I never knew there were 3 types of Cerebral Palsy. I guess you learn something new everyday.