Cerebral Palsy Types – Ataxic and Spastic Palsy


The name cerebral comes from the two halves of the brain. The other name of this condition, palsy refers to any disorder that affects the body’s movement. Cerebral palsy conditions are all related to the areas of the brain that are associated with the motor systems that control body movement.

These areas have either been damaged or have been disturbed during their development and caused a disruption in the brain’s ability to control movement and posture. There are several palsy types that are characterized by poor coordination, poor balance and abnormal movement patterns.

Almost all cerebral palsy types are non-progressive except ataxic palsy, which is the most rare and most serious cerebral palsy type. This brain conditions cannot be cured, but it has been shown that through early diagnosis and treatment a child’s capabilities can be considerably improved. It has also been discovered that children suffering of a palsy type is most often than not suffering of other medical disorders like epilepsy, growth problems or even vision or hearing problems.

There are four main palsy types. The most common type is the Spastic cerebral palsy type that covers around 70 to 80 percent of the sufferers and it is characterized by stiffly and permanently contracted muscles. Another palsy type of condition is the Atheoid and it is manifested to about 10 to 20 percent of the sufferers. This condition is characterized by uncontrolled and slaw movements. The most serious cerebral palsy type is the Ataxic one.

The ataxic cerebral palsy is manifested to 5 to 10 percent of children with such disorders and it affects depth perception and balance. The mixed type is usually a mixture of two of the above-mentioned types, most commonly spastic and atheoid. The palsy can also be classified as monoplegic, diplegic, triplegic or quadriplegic, depending on the muscle groups affected.

Atheoid cerebral palsy – This palsy type represents about 10 to 20 percent of the cases of cerebral palsy and it should be noted that the percent used to be much higher. The most common causes of this brain condition would be hyperbilirubinemia or RH incompatibility between the mother and the infant.

The most visible dysfunctions caused by this cerebral palsy type are slow, irregular and involuntary movements that occur at the central line of the limb. Most children suffering from this type of palsy lack stability and symmetry. At children with atheoid cerebral palsy the proper support of the hips and trunk is crucial. It should be noted that these children have a perfectly normal brain development, but most of them have speaking problems because of the slowness in the muscles.

Ataxic cerebral palsy – This type of palsy is characterized by lack of balance and difficulty in performing coordinated voluntary movements. It is a rare form of cerebral palsy but it is very often found as a contributing aspect to other types of cerebral palsy. This condition results from damage to the cerebellum and it affects the limbs, trunk and even eyes. It is very common that children with ataxic cerebral palsy have an uncoordinated walk or gait.

Spastic Cerebral Palsy – This type of cerebral palsy is characterized by lack of control over the arms and legs. The muscles are permanently contracted and that is why movement is very difficult to perform. It is usual that the person suffering from this palsy type to experience pronounced resistance of the muscles after the movement was performed.

Mixed Palsy – This type of palsy is actually a mixture of the other types, its symptoms not fitting into a specific classification. The mixed palsy type usually manifests itself by different types of movement disorders. The most common combination is between the spastic and the atheoid types. In this case the brain has suffered damage in the cerebral cortex and the basal ganglia.