Injury to the brain normally occurs while it is developing, from before birth right up to age 5. When the brain is damaged, the messages it sends to different parts of the body get jumbled up or lost. This can affect movement, learning, speaking and every part of the way the body works.
Some people may use a wheelchair or other equipment to help them move around. CP can make it difficult to judge where steps and spaces start and finish. People can also be more emotional and panicky or find it difficult to switch off and relax.
The muscles have to work harder so people may get tired more easily. Pain and spasms in people's muscles may disturb their sleep. It can also make speaking, chewing and swallowing difficult. Some people may dribble or need food pureed.
Talking can be difficult, because muscles in the throat can be affected. Some people use a communication aid to help them speak. This means they may need more time to respond. If you do not understand, it's OK to ask someone to repeat what they are saying.
Around a third of people with CP find things difficult to understand. It can make it harder for sensory information, like light or sound, to get to the brain, and it can make abstract ideas like letters and numbers trickier.