Information for the public

What may happen in the future?

What may happen in the future?

When families are told that their child has cerebral palsy, they often have lots of questions about what may happen in the future. Your child's outlook (prognosis) depends on how severely their cerebral palsy affects them. For example, some children have more problems than others learning skills like walking and talking. Most people with cerebral palsy have a normal life expectancy, but those with added severe complications have a higher risk of shorter lives.

The following should be explained to you as a guide. But all children are different, and your care team can give you more specific information about your child's outlook.


Children who can sit without help by the age of 2 are likely (but not certain) to be able to walk without help by the time they are 6. This may still be possible if they can roll at 2, even if they can't sit. If they can't sit or roll by this age, they are unlikely to be able to walk without help.


About 1 in 3 children with cerebral palsy have difficulties with speech and language – this is more likely in children with some types of cerebral palsy than others. Problems with communicating are more likely if your child also has problems with learning or has epilepsy that is difficult to control (for more information about epilepsy, see where can I find out more?).

Questions you may want to ask

  • How likely is it that my child will have difficulty learning to walk?

  • How likely is it that my child will have difficulty learning to talk or communicate?

  • How is my child's condition likely to change in the future?

  • Might my child's cerebral palsy shorten their life?

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