Types of Cerebral Palsy


There are several types of brain injuries at birth that may be called cerebral palsy. Cerebral palsy is caused by low oxygen to the brain during birth that can cause several different problems, depending on how severe the brain injury is.

The most common type of cerebral palsy identified is spastic cerebral palsy. This kind of cerebral palsy is known for causing jerky and rigid muscle behavior. There are three types of spastic cerebral palsy:

• Spastic diplegia – Characterized by tight leg and hip muscles, and legs crossed at the knee, making walking difficult

• Spastic hemiplegia – Characterized by stiffness on one side of the body. The affected side may not develop normally, and arms or hands may be more affected than legs

• Spastic quadriplegia – Characterized by affecting legs, arms and the body. It may be difficult for the child to walk and speak. The child may suffer seizures and mental retardation is a common occurrence

There are other kinds of brain injuries resulting at birth that may fall under the cerebral palsy umbrella. These include:

• Erb’s palsy – Can occur when the infant’s shoulder is stuck beneath the mother’s pelvis. Forcing the infant out may tear the brachial plexus, a nerve cluster running from the neck to the hand. This can cause paralysis in the shoulder area, arm, or hand

• Athetoid dyskinetic cerebral palsy – The child will have normal intelligence, but the body is affected by muscle problems. Drooling may occur due to lack of control of facial muscles, and speech may be difficult

• Ataxic cerebral palsy – Problems occur with fine motor skills, balance, and coordination. Intention tremors, or shaking that begins with voluntary movement, such as reaching out to pick something up are possible

• Hypotonic cerebral palsy – This causes control problems when child is still an infant. The child may have trouble keeping their head up and may not be able to control it when they are sitting up. Motor skill development may be delayed