What to Know About the Different Types of Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral Palsy, then commonly known as “cerebral paralysis”, was first recognized in 1860 by William Little, a British surgeon. Little increased the possibility that asphyxia during the birth of a child is the main cause. But not until 1897, a well known neurologist named Sigmund Freud suggested that difficult birth was not a basis but rather a symptom of some other effects on fetal progress. During the 1980’s, a research conducted by NINDS or National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, suggested also that only some cases are caused by asphyxia during child birth.

The word “cerebral” in medical term is for the brain while “palsy” means the disorder of the posture or movement. By the definition, it describes to a group of situation wherein the posture and movement are very affected as a result to the damage done to one or more parts of the brain.

Depending on which part of the brain was damaged, the following conditions may be present although every individual is affected in a very different way:

o Coordination and balance problems

o Difficulty in maintaining and controlling of posture (like when a person wants to sit upright, help is required)

o Having an epilepsy (one out of three in children have an epilepsy

o Difficulty in talking, drinking, and eating (swallowing)

o Difficulty in learning process

Types of Cerebral Palsy

This disorder can be categorized into four types and these are ataxic, athetoid, spastic, and mixed:

o Ataxic- this type of CP affects to about 5 to 10 percent of most CP patients. Ataxic is characterized by the deficits to the balance and depth sensitivity that results to poor coordination in fine motor tasks.

o Athetoid- a type of CP that affects to about 10 to 20% of most CP patients. Athetoid is characterized by very slow movements. Uncontrollable movements usually occur in hands, arms, legs, and feet. Also, face and tongue muscles can be affected that may result into drooling or grimacing. Affected tongue muscles may also result to difficulty in speaking.

o Spastic- the most common type of CP that accounts to about 70 to 80 percent of all CP patients. Spastic is characterized by the stiffing of limb muscles that can result to permanent contraction.

o Mixed- this type of CP affects to about 30 percent of all CP cases. Symptoms are like to one of the three types stated above. Furthermore, athetoid and spastic forms of CP can coexist.

In general, it is not a progressive type where the brain can’t get any worse. Application of regular and appropriate therapy is provided so as to improve mobility and coordination skills.