Cerebral Palsy: From the Mildest to the Worst Types

Cerebral palsy, which is currently the most common neurological or brain disorder among children in the US, is an incurable, chronic condition that affects muscle coordination, body movement, sensation, perception, cognition, speech and many other brain functions. This disorder is a result either of abnormal brain growth or brain injury, the causes for which may have occurred before, during or after childbirth.

There are four major categories of cerebral palsy, each being based on the part/s of the body affected and the severity of the effects. These categories (and their sub-categories) include:

  • Spastic. This form of cerebral palsy is the most common in children; it also disrupts normal growth, limits stretching of muscles during movement, causes abnormal movements and malformations in the development of muscles and joints. Spastic CP has five types:
    • a.1. Spastic diplegia – which affects both legs or both arms, though, the legs are the ones most usually affected.
    • a.2. Spastic quadriplegia – this is the most incapacitating and severe type of spastic cerebral palsy, affecting all four limbs of the body.
    • a.3. Spastic hemiplegia –this disorder impairs the limbs on one side of the body (one arm and one leg).
    • a.4. Spastic monoplegia and spastic triplegia – the first affects only one limb ( one leg or one arm), while the second affects three limbs. These types of CP are very rare, though.
  • Athetoid or dyskinetic cerebral palsy – this involves slow and uncontrolled writhing movements of one’s hands, arms and/or legs, as well as involuntary facial grimaces and drooling. This type of cerebral palsy does not affect a child’s mental ability, though, allowing him/her to even possess above average intelligence.
  • Ataxic cerebral palsy – a child suffering from this type of CP can be deemed as clumsy and/or jerky. It also causes tremors or shaky movements, and difficulty in maintaining balance, in patients.
  • Mixed cerebral palsy – is the combination of any two types of cerebral palsy; however, the most common is the combination of athetoid and spastic.

Many of the causes of cerebral palsy are results of acts of negligence that lead to medical malpractice.

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