Different Types of Cerebral Palsy

If your child has a birth injury leading to cerebral palsy, you should be aware that there are different types of cerebral palsy. Today we will talk about 4 of the different types of cerebral palsy and what is related to each type. These 4 different classifications describe not only the areas of the brain that are affected but also the different impairments of movements.

The four classifications are:

  • Spastic

This is the most common form that cerebral palsy takes. In this type, muscle tightness is the main impairment. People who deal with the spastic type of CP are what is known as hypertonic and basically have an impairment that is called a neuromuscular mobility impairment as opposed to a paralysis or hypotonia. This type of CP stems from what is known as an upper motor neuron lesion found in the brain and the motor cortex or corticospinal tract. The damage makes some of the nerve receptors in the spinal column not receive the gamma-aminobutyric acid like they should which is the event that leads to the hypertonia in the muscles that are signaled by damaged nerves.

  • Ataxic

Symptoms for this classification of cerebral palsy can stem from a damaged cerebellum. This is a less common classification and according to Wikipedia, only occurs in about 5-10% of all of the combined cases of CP. There are some symptoms that are prevalent in this type and those are tremors and hypotonia. Certain motor skills may also be affected such as typing, writing, or using scissors. Balance and walking is also impaired. Very commonly, individuals suffering from this type of CP will have issues with both auditory and visual processing. There may be a bit of dysarthria and an abnormal gait.

  • Athetoid/dyskinetic

This type of CP deals with muscle tone and patients can have both hypo- and hypertonia combined with motions that are completely involuntary. These patients will have issues with even holding themselves erect or walking and even sitting. Involuntary motions are very common. There are many people who have this classification of CP who must truly concentrate in order to even get their hand to go where they want it to. Due to the mixed tone and issues with holding a position, patients with this type of CP often are not able to hold onto anything, especially if what they are trying to hold onto is small or requires fine motor control. The damage leading to this classification of CP occurs in the extrapyramidal motor system and/or the basal ganglia and/or the pyramidal tract. If a newborn has bilirubin levels that are high and left untreated then this could lead to this classification of CP.

  • Mixed

This classification of cerebral palsy is one in which a mixture of the other three types is presented. The thing is, each can present both with and without individual symptoms of each type. This means that this type is extremely difficult to treat due to the heterogeneous and incredibly unpredictable development and symptoms over the life span of the patient.

1 Comment

  1. I have mild cerebral palsy on my left sde and favor my right, but you could start with szeueqe ball for that hand or large, soft objects he could hold. Also depending on his intelligence (not saying he’s mentally challenged) have him twirl a crayon or pencil between his fingers for both hands. Little activities like that are great, he’ll still favor his good side much more than his palsic side but it’ll be much better for him in the long run.

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