(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 from CP.
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 CP.
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
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.