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In the summer of 2004, an international group of clinicians and researchers gathered for a 2-day meeting in Bethesda, Maryland, to consider one of the perennial questions in the field of developmental disability. For the past 40 years, the definition of cerebral palsy (CP) has been the classic 1964 Bax statement: CP is “a disorder of movement and posture due to a defect or lesion of the immature brain.” Despite some modest but useful enhancement of these ideas by Mutch and associates in 1992 (CP is “an umbrella term covering a group of nonprogressive, but often changing, motor impairment syndromes secondary to lesions or anomalies of the brain arising in the early stages of development”), uncertainty remains about both of these specific definitions, and more generally, whether the term “cerebral palsy” has outlived its usefulness.

The 2004 meeting was cosponsored by...

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