Understanding the Different Types of Cerebral Palsy

Understanding the Different Types of Cerebral Palsy

by / Wednesday, 06 June 2018 / Published in Birth Trauma
Medical professional pointing to CAT scan of head on screen

Cerebral palsy is the most common type of childhood motor disability, with over 500,000 children and adults in the United States impacted by it. Several different factors can result in a child developing cerebral palsy, including bleeding or infections in the brain, severe jaundice, maternal infections, a lack of oxygen during delivery, and medical malpractice.

When talking about cerebral palsy, it’s important to understand that the term “cerebral palsy” doesn’t refer to just one singular type of injury. There are actually a few different types of cerebral palsy. Here are some of the most common types:

Spastic Cerebral Palsy

Approximately 70-80 percent of cerebral palsy cases involve spastic cerebral palsy, which occurs when the brain’s motor cortex is damaged. Those who have spastic cerebral palsy may have difficulties with things like walking, crossing their legs, or moving their arms. Underdeveloped limbs and muscle stiffness are also very common with this type of cerebral palsy. In some cases, a person might have symptoms that show on just one side of their body, but it can impact both sides of the body as well.

Dyskinetic/Athetoid Cerebral Palsy

Dyskinetic or athetoid cerebral palsy affects the basal ganglia, which controls voluntary motor functions, and/or the cerebellum, which controls coordination. Because of this, it’s common for a person with dyskinetic/athetoid cerebral palsy to have a difficult time walking, holding objects, controlling facial movements, swallowing, or talking. They also commonly have issues with muscle tone, with muscles being either too stiff or too limp. You may also see unusual involuntary movements in their hands and limbs.

Ataxic Cerebral Palsy

Those impacted by ataxic cerebral palsy often have problems with coordination and balance. Carrying out activities that require precise movements, like writing or picking up and holding objects, can be difficult for them. People with ataxic cerebral palsy can also have a hard time walking and may have an unusual or unsteady gait. You may also notice tremors or difficulties in speaking.

It’s also important to note that in some cases, a person might not show symptoms of just one type of cerebral palsy. Mixed cerebral palsy occurs when a person shows signs of two different types of cerebral palsy.

Not all types of birth injuries are easy to detect right away. Sometimes, a child might not show symptoms of an injury until months or even years after they were born. This is often the case with cerebral palsy. Even if your child is a few years old by the time you begin to suspect they might have cerebral palsy, don’t hesitate to contact a birth trauma lawyer. Realizing that your child has been injured is extremely upsetting and depending on the extent of their injuries, they could be facing difficulties that will impact them for the rest of their lives. You have a lot of questions you need answers to and talking to a lawyer will be able to help you get the answers  you need.

At Goodwin & Scieszka our experienced personal injury lawyers are educated in cerebral palsy symptoms as well as other birth injuries and the immense impact it has on a family. Contact us to see how we can help you and your loved ones through your trying times.