Cerebral palsy is caused by damage to the developing brain and damages the part of the brain that controls the individual’s ability to control their muscles.
The damage to the brain can happen organically by head injuries after birth, or as the result of complications at birth, including medical malpractice or mistakes. Birth injuries, sustained during delivery, can severely impact a child’s physical and mental development over a lifetime, according to the website of the Driscoll Firm, P.C.
After diagnosis, cerebral palsy is classified into different types, based on which parts of the brain and body are affected and to what severity. Although every individual is different, and symptoms vary in severity, cerebral palsy is typically distinguished by four classifications: spastic, dyskinetic, ataxic or mixed.
Spastic cerebral palsy is the most common type of cerebral palsy. People with spastic cerebral palsy have increased muscle tone, which causes stiff muscles and awkward movements, and reflexes are exaggerated.
Individuals with dyskinetic cerebral palsy experience difficulties controlling parts of the body, because their muscle tone changes from tight to loose very often. This can lead to uncontrollable movements.
This also includes athetoid and dystonic cerebral palsies. Dystonic is distinguished by torso movements resulting in posture problems. Athetiod encompasses symptoms such as slow, involuntary movements.
People with ataxic cerebral palsy typically exhibit poor balance and coordination. It can affect the arms and hands resulting in shakiness, making activities like writing very difficult. Walking can also be very difficult for individuals with ataxic cerebral palsy.
People who experience symptoms of multiple kinds of cerebral palsy are described as having mixed cerebral palsy. The most common type of mixed cerebral palsy is spastic-dyskinetic cerebral palsy.