What are the different forms?
The specific forms of cerebral palsy are determined by the extent, type, and location of a child’s abnormalities. Doctors classify CP according to the type of movement disorder involved -- spastic (stiff muscles), athetoid (writhing movements), or ataxic (poor balance and coordination) -- plus any additional symptoms, such weakness (paresis) or paralysis (plegia). For example, hemiparesis (hemi = half) indicates that only one side of the body is weakened.Quadriplegia (quad = four) means all four limbs are afffected.
Spastic cerebral palsy is the most common type of the disorder. People have stiff muscles and awkward movements. Forms of spastic cerebral palsy include:
Dyskinetic cerebral palsy (also includes athetoid, choreoathetoid, and dystonic cerebral palsies) is characterized by slow and uncontrollable writhing or jerky movements of the hands, feet, arms, or legs. Hyperactivity in the muscles of the face and tongue makes some children grimace or drool. They find it difficult to sit straight or walk. Some children have problems hearing, controlling their breathing, and/or coordinating the muscle movements required for speaking. Intelligence is rarely affected in these forms of cerebral palsy.
Ataxic cerebral palsy affects balance and depth perception. Children with ataxic CP will often have poor coordination and walk unsteadily with a wide-based gait. They have difficulty with quick or precise movements, such as writing or buttoning a shirt, or a hard time controlling voluntary movement such as reaching for a book.
Mixed types of cerebral palsy refer to symptoms that don’t correspond to any single type of CP but are a mix of types. For example, a child with mixed CP may have some muscles that are too tight and others that are too relaxed, creating a mix of stiffness and floppiness.