Cerebral palsy is a condition in which the brain is malformed during fetal development. It affects every aspect of a child's motor skills, speech and brain function. While the fetus is still developing its brain and spinal cord, the cells mutate causing this malfunction in the cerebral cortex. Most cases of cerebral palsy, the child is born with it, but it goes unnoticed until the child has trouble speaking, crawling, or moving by itself. This may take many months for the infant to be diagnosed. What also may happen is that the child can contract a disease in the early stages of their life, such as bacterial meningitis, or blunt force trauma to the brain while the brain is still developing. In the mid 1800's, Dr William John Little began the study of cerebral palsy, inspired by his own childhood disability. The techniques he discovered are still ever present in today's medicine. The first book on cerebral palsy was written by Sir William Osler, as well as Dr. Sigmund Freud, who figured that cerebral palsy was could possibly result from abnormal fetal development. IN 1990, President George W. Bush passed the Americans with disabilities act, when stopped employers from discriminating against people with disabilities. With the advances in medicine happening every day, doctors are able to better treat and allow people to better function with a disability. Dr. William John Little first defined cerebral palsy as an injury that stemmed from a lack of oxygen at birth (Cerebral Palsy Pioneers 2012). He himself had cerebral palsy. The first published descriptions of cerebral palsy were in 1861 stating "abnormal forms of labor.in which the child had partially suffocated." The disease was coined "Little's disease.".
Cerebral palsy symptoms can vary from child to child, depending on the severity of the damage to the child's brain. Balance, coordination, all motor functions, control, muscle tone, posture, is all affected when a child is diagnosed with cerebral palsy.