The extensive commercial website CerebralPalsyGuidance has excellent information on all aspects of cerebral palsy. Here are just the opening paragraphs of their cerebral palsy overview:
Cerebral Palsy Overview
Learning that your child has cerebral palsy can be devastating news. Yet, by educating yourself, including learning about treatment options and how to help manage the disorder, your child can still live a productive life.
What is Cerebral Palsy?
Cerebral palsy (CP) is a neurological disorder that affects a child’s movement, motor skills, and muscle tone. In most cases, cerebral palsy is caused by brain damage that develops while the baby is still in utero or during or shortly after birth.
Cerebral palsy is a congenital disorder, affecting around 500,000 in the U.S. There is currently no cure for cerebral, but there are numerous treatment options that can help babies and children live quality lives that turn into successful adult lives.
Unfortunately, cerebral palsy can lead a number of other medical conditions, depending on the severity of the disorder. Other medical issues associated with cerebral palsy include:
- Speech problems
- Learning disabilities
- Problems with hearing and vision
Types of Cerebral Palsy
The severity and type of cerebral palsy a child has can vary. Some children may just have some muscle spasms, while others are unable to walk. Some may have seizures and some may have cognitive disabilities. The condition can affect any muscles in the body, so possible complications include trouble with balance, eye problems, bladder or bowel problems, poor range of motion in joints, and difficulty swallowing. Cerebral palsy does not get worse with time.
There are different types of cerebral palsy that affects babies and children in different ways:
Spastic Cerebral Palsy
Spastic cerebral palsy is the most common type of the disorder, affecting around 76.9% of all people with CP. Spastic cerebral palsy differs from other types of CP due to it distinct symptoms and characteristics. Common symptoms and characteristics of spastic CP include:
- Failure to reach milestones in walking, crawling, and sitting up
- Abnormal movement
- Movement inhibition
- Stiff muscles
- Muscles tend to become stiffer the more the child moves
- Difficulties with controlling individual muscles
- Difficulties moving from one position to another
Spastic quadriplegia is the most severe form of spastic CP. This type of cerebral palsy can affect a child’s entire body, placing them at risk of limb deformities. Many children with spastic quadriplegia will also experience chronic seizures, so it’s important to work with a healthcare team to figure out the best treatment options.
Another form of spastic CP is spastic diplegia. It’s not as severe as spastic quadriplegia, as children are still able to walk. However, they often walk on their toes and have issues with balance and coordination. Other symptoms of spastic diplegia include delayed milestones, fatigue, seizures, “flexed knees,” and a crouched gait. Legs are often affected more than arms.
Dyskinetic Cerebral Palsy
Dyskinetic cerebral palsy (also known as dystonic and athetoid) is the 2nd most common form of cerebral palsy, although it only affects around 2.6% of all cases of the disorder. Symptoms of dyskinetic cerebral palsy include:
- Repetitive, twisting motions (dystonia)
- Slow, writhing movements (athetosis)
- Unpredictable, irregular movements (chorea)
- Awkward posture
- Movements can range from slow to rapid and can be accompanied by pain
Ataxic Cerebral Palsy
Ataxic cerebral palsy is named after the word ataxia, meaning “without order.” It’s the least common type of cerebral palsy, marked by poor balance, incoordination, tremors, and shaky movements.
Mixed Cerebral Palsy
Mixed cerebral occurs when the child has two or more types of the aforementioned types of cerebral palsy. Spastic-dyskinetic cerebral is the most common type of mixed cerebral palsy. When children have mixed cerebral palsy, they may exhibit a combination of symptoms, matching each type of the disorder they have.