(CP) is used to describe a medical condition that affects control
of the muscles. Cerebral means anything in the head and palsy
refers to anything wrong with control of the muscles or joints
in the body and therefore CP covers a spectrum of symptoms which
vary in severity. An individual with cerebral palsy may have difficulty
with fine motor tasks, such as writing, maintaining balance and
walking, or be affected by involuntary movements, such as uncontrollable
motions of the hands. The symptoms differ from one person to the
next, and may even change over time in the individual. Some cerebral
palsy sufferers are also affected by other medical disorders,
including seizures or mental impairment. There are a number of
identifiably types of CP:
Spastic Cerebral Palsy:
Children with spastic CP have stiff and jerky movements caused
by muscles which are are too tight (high muscles tone). This causes
particular difficulties when moving from one bodily position to
another or letting loose an object held in their hand. Spastic
Cerebral Palsy is the most common type of identified. This form
of cerebral palsy affects 70 to 80 percent of children who suffer
Ataxic Cerebral Palsy:
Distinguished by poor coordination and loose muscle tone (low
muscle tone), children with this particular form of the condition
look very unsteady and shaky. They experience extreme shakiness
the majority of the time but this can become more pronounced when
trying to perform fine movements such as turning the page of a
book. Poor balance is also a problem for these children and they
may be very unsteady when they walk. The ataxic form affects an
estimated 5 to 10 percent of children who have CP.
Athetoid or Dyskinetic Cerebral Palsy:
This is a mixture of muscle tone which is too tight or loose.
Here the child has trouble holding themselves in an upright, steady
position for sitting or walking, and often show lots of movements
of their face, arms and upper body which is not intentional. Athetoid
cerebral palsy affects about 10 to 20 percent of children with
Mixed Cerebral Palsy:
When muscle tone is too low in some muscles and too high in other
muscles, the type of cerebral palsy is called mixed.
Some disorders have similar symptoms. The clinician, therefore,
in his diagnostic attempt, has to differentiate against the following
disorders which need to be ruled out to establish a precise diagnosis.
is caused by an injury to the brain before, during, or shortly
after birth. In many cases, it is not known for sure what caused
the brain injury.
Whilst a child with severe
cerebral palsy might be unable to walk and need extensive and
lifelong care, a child with mild cerebral palsy might only be
slightly awkward and require no special assistance.
and Psychotherapy [ See
Therapy Section ]:
speech therapy and occupational therapy are all utilized to assist
the child in better language and coordination activities.