Cerebral Palsy: Major Australian Advances


  • Over the past 10 years, the incidence of Cerebral Palsy (CP) has declined across Australia, from 1 in 500 children to 1 in 700 children
  • Milder symptoms: In the more recently reported birth years, 2 out of 3 children with CP could walk without assistive equipment
  • Of this group, more than 50% had no intellectual disability

For many years, Cerebral Palsy (CP) is the most common physical disability in children in Australia, but recent data gathered by the Australian Cerebral Palsy Register sparks hope, showing a distinct decline in the incidence of CP, and a continuing downward trend in the future.

Numbers speak, and these new statistics speak volumes about how effective the ACPR has been in bringing about a significant and positive change. The knowledge and expertise gathered over the years have prompted

· Numerous advances in the health and care of pregnant women and their babies

  • Better management of high-risk pregnancies
  • Improvements in neo-natal intensive care
  • A higher number of public health initiatives to prevent accidents

And these initiatives have driven results that are just as encouraging:

  • A notable decline in CP among babies born extremely early (20-27 weeks) and those born at term (37+ weeks)
  • A decline in CP among twins

Overall, the ACPR’s recent research shows that Australia is right on track to improving life for CP patients, bringing down the incidence of CP and ultimately finding a cure.

About Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral Palsy is the most common physical disability in children, and in Australia, until recently a child was born with Cerebral Palsy every 15 hours.

Cerebral Palsy is an umbrella term for a group of disorders caused by injury to the brain, most commonly during pregnancy.

It is a permanent, lifelong condition with no known cure. Cerebral Palsy can range from weakness in one hand, to an almost complete lack of voluntary movement. People with significant physical disability may require 24 hours care.

Interview opportunities

On behalf of the ACPR, media are invited the opportunity interview, one-on-one, with some of the main spokespeople and researchers who have been involved in the report’s release. These spokespeople are

Professor Nadia Badawi


Research Fellow Hayley Smithers-Sheedy


Senior Research Fellow Sarah McIntyre


/Public Release.