Cerebral palsy results from an early brain injury or a disturbance in brain development during pregnancy or birth or shortly thereafter.

CP is the No. 1 cause of motor disability in children, affecting one in 323 children in the United States, although a large adult population also is affected by CP. Because CP has different levels of severity, people with the condition require different kinds and levels of support.

Much can be done to help children with CP. Parents often are scared and do not know what to do after their children are diagnosed, which is why educational programs such as the Blazing New Trails town hall event that was June 3 at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta are important.

Parents must learn to be strong advocates for their children in clinical, academic and community settings. The best way to help children with CP is to stay educated and keep up with the latest updates in care.

The goal of Blazing New Trails, a program of BlazeSports America, is to educate people with CP and their families about updates in management, physical therapies and adaptive technologies that could help children with CP and lower limb spasticity.

The town hall at Children’s included a panel discussion with parents, clinicians, therapists and researchers. It offered attendees the chance to ask questions and pick up information from CP and disability groups, among other organizations.

There are many misconceptions about CP, and the abilities of people with CP are often underestimated. CP is commonly misunderstood because its severity and symptoms can vary widely. National CP Awareness Day (March 25) and programs such as Blazing New Trails are the first steps in promoting a better understanding of CP and advocating greater accessibility for CP patients and their families.

For more Atlanta-based resources for families dealing with CP, visit the following: