Although some children with cerebral palsy (CP) also have autism, the two conditions are different. Both can affect language, but for different reasons. Children with CP may have difficulty speaking due to a lack of motor control caused by brain damage. In contrast, autistic children may have trouble communicating due to deficiencies in social functioning.

The Difference Between Autism and Cerebral Palsy

According to the Centers for Disease Control, nearly 7% of children with cerebral palsy have a co-occurring autism spectrum disorder. This is more commonly found in those with non-spastic CP. Approximately 1% to 2% of kids who do not have CP are autistic.

If you are concerned about your child’s development, you can visit here for more information about how you can get help with diagnosing cerebral palsy. Keep reading to learn more about the connection between autism spectrum disorders and CP.

There are many different factors that contribute to cerebral palsy. If your child’s disorder was caused by a birth injury, contact a Cerebral palsy expert solicitor in the UK – Gadsby Wicks.

Cerebral Palsy and Autism

Autism affects the area of the brain that controls communication and behavior. Most cases of autism are hereditary. Autism can also be caused by maternal illness and certain environmental factors. Cerebral palsy is caused by damage to a baby or young child’s developing brain. This can happen in the womb or during or shortly after delivery. Birth injury or medical negligence can also cause cerebral palsy.

The association between the two conditions comes into play due to the common genetic variants that can lead to abnormal communication and motor development. Genetic factors in some children can affect the way brain cells communicate with each other, contributing to the child developing both autism and CP.

Parents with one child with autism are more likely to have another due to genetic factors. However, cerebral palsy is less likely to occur in your other children if your first child is affected.

Risk Factors for Developing Cerebral Palsy

In many cases of cerebral palsy, the cause is unknown. These are some of the known risk factors that may increase a child’s chances of developing CP:

  • Premature birth
  • Multiple births
  • Rh incompatibility
  • Infertility treatments
  • Low birth weight
  • Fever during pregnancy
  • Toxic chemical exposure

Risk Factors for Developing Autism

In addition to being more likely to have a second or third child with autism, if your first child is affected, there are other risk factors. These include:

  • Parental age – Older parents are more likely to have a child on the autism spectrum.
  • The child’s sex – Male children are four times more likely to be autistic than females.
  • Premature birth – The risk of autism increases when a baby is born before 26 weeks.

Whether your child has cerebral palsy, autism, or both, there are treatment options available that can improve their quality of life and help them develop the skills they need for a fulfilling life.

Treatment Options

Children with cerebral palsy can benefit from several therapies. Physical therapy can help them with mobility issues. Occupational therapy uses play to develop skills while having fun. Some other therapies your doctor may prescribe to treat your child include speech and occupational therapy.

The CDC recommends that children on the autism spectrum have early intervention services, which can significantly improve outcomes. In addition to the therapies that benefit kids with CP, autistic children may have therapy that helps them to learn how to communicate and interact with others. Early intervention services are most helpful when beginning between birth and three years of age.

The sooner your child is diagnosed, the quicker they can begin treatment. Don’t be afraid to approach your pediatrician with any concerns.

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1 Comment

  1. My 19 month old daughter was just diagnosed with Hypotonic Cerebral Palsy & Autism.
    We are still waiting on several genetic tests as well as MRI results to come back for further answers. I am very lost and confused as to how to navigate as well as handle all of this.

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