Cerebral palsy encompasses a group of neurological disorders that interferes with a person’s motor control. Damage or abnormal development to parts of the brain that direct movement disrupt the signals sent to the muscles. CP develops before or during birth or soon after and is the most common form of motor control disorder in children, affecting one of every 330 births in the U.S.
Four Types of Cerebral Palsy
CP is classified into four main types based on the specific problem with movement being experienced.
- Spastic palsy accounts for about 60 percent of cases, making it the most common type of CP, characterized by very stiff muscles that make movement uncoordinated. Sub-categories define the area of the body that is affected. Spastic diplegia/diparesis occurs primary in the legs; spastic hemiplegia/hemiparesis affects one side of the body; spastic quadriplegia/quadriparesis, the most severe form of spastic palsy, affects the entire body.
- Dyskinetic Palsy impacts the ability to control hands, arms and feet causing slow and writhing or quick, jerky movement. The face and tongue may be affected making it difficult to talk or swallow.
- Ataxic Palsy impairs coordination and balance, resulting in an unsteady walk and causing difficulty with coordination
- Mixed Palsy produces symptoms of more than one of the other three types of cerebral palsy, most commonly combining spastic and dyskinetic palsies.