What is Athetoid Cerebral Palsy?

It’s important that you understand Athetoid Cerebral Palsy, especially if you or someone you love has been diagnosed. Do you know that the symptoms are and what the possible treatments are? It will be important that you take the time to learn this.

Athetoid cerebral palsy is sometimes referred to as “dyskinetic” and the symptoms usually show up before the child is one year old. If your child has this condition, it will be important for you to learn as much as you can about it. This type of CP affects about ten to twenty percent of all patients with cerebral palsy. It happens when the cerebellum or the basal ganglia has some type of damage done to it. This is the part of the brain that controls the movement of the person as well as body posture, coordination and smooth movement.

Basically, the whole body is affected with athetoid CP. It is different from spastic cerebral palsy in that it is marked by a movement disorder of the muscles. The child will have no vertical stability. There are some important things to note about the child with athetoid CP. First, they are usually more intelligent than an average normal child. However, the child with athetoid CP will have troubles holding a toothbrush or pen or even scratching his nose. He will need to concentrate extra hard on muscle coordination just to try to make the muscles obey his commands.

Drooling is a common symptom and the face will contort and grimace as the child has no control of how the muscles of the face move around. They are sometimes said to have the appearance of a dancer since the muscles of the arms and legs will move around uncontrollable. However, this movement is deceptive because the muscles are not actually capable of bearing the weight of the child for him to stand. The knees bend inwards often, making it difficult to sit or to walk upright.

One of the most important points of treating children with Athetoid cerebral palsy is to help them relocate their center of gravity. It’s important to begin physical training as early as possible to help the child learn to control their muscles and to prevent the muscles from becoming weak or rigid.

To understand how his type of CP affects the child you need to look at it like this- it is actually a combination of muscle tone that is too high and too low. Sometimes it is tight and rigid and other times it is too loose and weak. Physical therapy can help the child learn to control this as much as possible and to tone the muscles so that they are more evenly matched.

The child with athetiod cerebral palsy will become frustrated because his intelligence is telling him to do things one way but his body does not want to cooperate. When stress levels are high, it can make the condition’s symptoms worse. Another part of treatment is learning to manage stress as well as possible. The only time the symptoms will go away completely is when the child is asleep.