What is Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral Palsy is a disorder of muscle control which is caused by damage to part of the brain, before, during, or just after birth.

There are 5 types of Cerebral Palsy:

1. Spasticity

Increased muscle tone

A child with spasticity will have excessively tight muscles, resulting in difficultly with control, coordination, and strength. Their movements can be slow and they can fatigue easily.

They need to practise movements to build stamina and response speeds.

2. Dyskinetic cerebral palsy/athetosis

Fluctuating or changing muscle tone

A child with dyskinetic cerebral palsy will have involuntary movements when they try to move.

Emotional changes increase involuntary movements. When they are relaxed, the child may move and respond slowly. When they are excited, they may have increased involuntary movements. It can be very difficult to interpret responses or understand communication for this reason.

It is important for children to learn strategies to regulate their emotions, stabilise their body and move just the parts they intended.

3. Hypotonia

Low muscle tone

A child with hypotonia has loose, floppy limbs and can have trouble finding strength to support their body and its movements. They are often first seen to struggle with head control, especially when being pulled by the arms into a sitting position.

These children need to learn strategies that build stamina and strength to support their body and movements.

4. Ataxia

Coordination difficulties

A child with ataxia will have difficulty with balance and maintaining posture, and have lower than normal muscle tone throughout their body.

They can have difficulty guiding and timing movements, and they can be slow to respond. Their speech will have poor pronunciation, volume and little tonal variation.

Children with ataxia need to learn how to strengthen their trunk and stabilize their bodies.

5. A combination of spacticity, dyskinetic cerebral palsy, hypotonia and ataxia