Difference Between Infantile Cerebral Palsy and Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral palsy (CP) is a neurological disorder that affects movement, muscle tone, and posture. It is caused by damage to the developing brain, usually before birth but sometimes during birth or shortly thereafter. Within cerebral palsy, there are several subtypes, and one of these is infantile cerebral palsy. Early intervention can improve motor skills, cognitive development, and overall quality of life by addressing symptoms and developmental needs as early as possible.

Comparative table: Infantile cerebral palsy vs cerebral palsy

Below is the difference between Infantile cerebral palsy and cerebral palsy in the tabular format:

Aspect Infantile Cerebral Palsy Cerebral Palsy (General)
Definition Early-onset cerebral palsy, diagnosed in infancy A broad category of motor disorders caused by brain damage
Onset Symptoms typically noticed in the first few years Symptoms can be detected from infancy through early childhood
Symptoms Developmental delays, poor muscle tone, abnormal posture, feeding difficulties Varies widely; includes spasticity, athetosis, ataxia, mixed symptoms
Diagnosis Early diagnosis crucial for effective intervention Diagnosed through medical history, physical exams, and imaging tests
Treatment Multidisciplinary approach with early intervention Similar treatments with an emphasis on individual needs
Medical Interventions Medications, botulinum toxin injections, anticonvulsants Muscle relaxants, pain management, anticonvulsants
Therapies Physical, occupational, and speech therapies Physical, occupational, and speech therapies
Assistive Devices Mobility aids, orthotic devices, adaptive seating Similar use of assistive devices

Browse best Scrubs Collection

What is Infantile Cerebral Palsy?

Infantile cerebral palsy is a term often used interchangeably with cerebral palsy, particularly when referring to cases diagnosed in infancy. This classification shows the early onset of symptoms, typically within the first few months or years of life. While the term "infantile cerebral palsy" isn't a distinct medical category separate from cerebral palsy, it underscores the early diagnosis and intervention phase, which is crucial for managing the condition effectively.


The causes of cerebral palsy, including its infantile form, are diverse and multifaceted. They generally involve disruptions to normal brain development or damage to the brain’s motor control centers. Key causes include:

  • Prenatal Factors: These include genetic mutations, maternal infections (such as rubella or cytomegalovirus), exposure to toxins, and complications like placental insufficiency.
  • Perinatal Factors: Complications during birth, such as asphyxia (lack of oxygen), premature birth, and low birth weight, can lead to brain damage resulting in cerebral palsy.
  • Postnatal Factors: Infections like meningitis, traumatic head injuries, or severe jaundice shortly after birth can cause brain damage leading to cerebral palsy.

Symptoms of Infantile Cerebral Palsy

Infantile cerebral palsy symptoms typically become noticeable within the first few years of life. Parents and caregivers might observe:

  • Poor Muscle Tone: Either hypotonia (reduced muscle tone) or hypertonia (increased muscle tone).
  • Developmental Delays: Failure to achieve motor milestones at the expected ages.
  • Abnormal Posture: Unusual positioning of the body or limbs.
  • Feeding Difficulties: Challenges in sucking, swallowing, or eating.
  • Unusual Movements: Involuntary movements or a lack of movement control.

Treatment and management

Treating infantile cerebral palsy (CP) involves a comprehensive, multidisciplinary approach customized to the individual needs of the child. The primary goals of treatment are to improve mobility, manage symptoms, enhance quality of life, and support overall development. 

  • Medications: Muscle relaxants (e.g., baclofen) reduce spasticity, while anticonvulsants manage seizures.
  • Surgery: Orthopedic surgeries correct bone deformities; selective dorsal rhizotomy reduces leg spasticity.
  • Therapies:
  • Physical Therapy: Enhances strength, flexibility, and motor skills.
  • Occupational Therapy: Develops fine motor skills and daily living activities.
  • Speech Therapy: Improves communication and addresses feeding/swallowing difficulties.
  • Assistive Devices: Mobility aids (e.g., wheelchairs), orthotic devices (e.g., braces), and adaptive seating support movement and posture.
  • Early Intervention: Programs and individualized education plans (IEP) foster development.
  • Complementary Therapies: Aquatic therapy and hippotherapy improve coordination and muscle tone.
  • Nutritional Support: Ensures proper diet and addresses feeding issues.
  • Psychological and Social Support: Counseling, support groups, and respite care aid emotional and caregiver well-being.



What is Cerebral Palsy?

Cerebral Palsy refers to a group of neurological disorders that affect movement, posture, and muscle coordination. It is caused by damage to the developing brain, typically before or shortly after birth.While infinite cerebral palsy is a type that comes under this.The brain injury or abnormal development affects the part of the brain that controls movement.Cerebral Palsy affects about 2 to 3 per 1,000 live births globally. The prevalence can vary based on factors such as access to healthcare and maternal health.


There are several types of Cerebral Palsy, categorized based on the predominant movement impairment. The symptoms vary with the types.

  • Spastic CP: Muscle stiffness and difficulty moving.
  • Dyskinetic CP: Involuntary movements (athetosis) or fluctuating muscle tone (dystonia).
  • Ataxic CP: Balance and coordination problems.
  • Mixed CP: Combination of symptoms from more than one type.


Cerebral Palsy is usually diagnosed in infancy or early childhood, often within the first two years of life. However, symptoms may not be fully recognized until later as the child grows and develops.


Unlike Parkinson's Disease, Cerebral Palsy itself is not progressive in nature. The initial brain injury does not worsen over time. However, secondary conditions such as muscle contractures or joint problems may develop as a result of abnormal muscle tone and movement patterns.


  • Therapies: Physical therapy to improve mobility, occupational therapy to enhance daily living skills, speech therapy for communication difficulties.
  • Medications: Medications may be prescribed to manage spasticity (muscle relaxants, botulinum toxin injections).
  • Surgical Interventions: Orthopedic surgeries may be performed to correct skeletal deformities or improve mobility.

Life Expectancy:

Cerebral Palsy does not typically affect life expectancy unless there are severe associated conditions. Many individuals with CP live into adulthood and beyond with appropriate medical care and support.

Shop the Best Lab Coats from Here!

Key Differences between Infantile cerebral palsy vs cerebral palsy


  • Infantile CP: Includes delays, poor muscle tone, early motor issues.
  • General CP: Involves spasticity, athetosis, ataxia, broader symptoms.


  • Infantile CP: Early, multidisciplinary intervention.
  • General CP: Ongoing symptom management.


  • Infantile CP: Early intervention improves outcomes.
  • General CP: Varied prognosis based on severity and response.
Check out More Articles
Difference Between Cartilage And Bone
Difference Between Endocrine And Exocrine Glands
Difference Between Cell Wall And Cell Membrane


What is cerebral palsy?

Cerebral palsy (CP) is a group of disorders affecting movement, muscle tone, and posture, caused by brain damage before, during, or shortly after birth.

What is infantile cerebral palsy?

Infantile cerebral palsy refers to cerebral palsy diagnosed in infancy or early childhood, highlighting the early onset of symptoms and the importance of early intervention.

What are the common symptoms of infantile cerebral palsy?

Common symptoms include developmental delays, poor muscle tone, abnormal posture, and feeding difficulties.

What causes cerebral palsy?

Causes include prenatal factors (e.g., infections, genetic mutations), perinatal factors (e.g., asphyxia during birth), and postnatal factors (e.g., infections, head injuries).

How does early intervention help with infantile cerebral palsy?

Early intervention can improve motor skills, cognitive development, and overall quality of life by addressing symptoms and developmental needs as early as possible.