Understanding Cerebral Palsy
There are four main types of cerebral palsy:
- Spastic Cerebral Palsy – this is the most common type of CP and it affects about 80% of people with CP. Spastic refers to stiff muscles and can affect different areas of the body:
- Spastic diplegia refers to spasticity mainly in the legs;
- Spastic hemiplegia refers to spasticity that only affects one side of the body (i.e the right side or the left side) and typically affects the arm more than the leg;
- Spastic quadriplegia refers to spasticity which affects all four limbs, the trunk and the face.
- Dyskinetic Cerebral Palsy – this type of CP describes people who have problems controlling their movements. People with dyskinetic CP have movements that are uncontrollable and can be slow and writhing or rapid and jerky. They may also have varying tone and that can change from too tight to too loose. This type of CP can also be referred to as athetoid, choreoathetoid or dystonic cerebral palsy.
- Ataxic Cerebral Palsy – this type of CP describes people who have difficulty with balance and coordination. This affects their ability to walk as well as fine motor skills such as writing, or fastening buttons.
- Mixed Cerebral Palsy – this type of CP describes people who have symptoms of more than one type of CP. The most common type of mixed CP is spastic dyskinetic CP.
If you have a child with cerebral palsy, your child’s health care providers will use various medical terms to describe your child’s type of cerebral palsy
While these labels are of little assistance in your child’s day to day life, it can be helpful to understand these medical terms when discussing your child’s treatment with health care providers
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