Types of Cerebral Palsy

There are three basic types of cerebral palsy:

Spastic cerebral palsy
This is the most common form (70%) and is characterized by stiffness and difficulty with movement. A spastic cerebral palsy patient may have trouble holding onto and letting go of objects, and experiences difficulty changing positions.

Athetoid cerebral palsy
About 20% of patients have this type of cerebral palsy, which affects the entire body. It is caused by damage to the cerebellum and basal ganglia, the areas that control body posture and enable smooth, sustained movements.

Damage to these areas may also cause involuntary movements that interfere with speaking, chewing and swallowing; poor muscle tone is another symptom of this form of cerebral palsy.

Ataxic cerebral palsy
This type of cerebral palsy entails poor movement coordination, which often causes the patient to be shaky and unstable. This rare type affects about 10% of all cerebral palsy patients. Mixed forms of these three types are not uncommon, most typically a combination of spastic and athetoid cerebral palsy.

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