Understanding the Difference - Spastic and Ataxic Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral palsy is a neurological disorder that affects movement, posture, and coordination. It is classified according to the type of movement and parts of the body affected, as well as by the severity of the symptoms. The five main types of cerebral palsy are spastic, ataxic, athetoid, hypotonic, and mixed. Spastic cerebral palsy is the most common type, affecting around 80% of people with this condition.

It is characterized by stiff muscles and exaggerated reflexes. People with spastic cerebral palsy may have difficulty walking or performing activities that require fine motor skills. Ataxic cerebral palsy is much less common than spastic cerebral palsy, affecting only 5 to 10 percent of people with this condition. It is caused by damage to the cerebellum, which is responsible for balance and coordination.

People with ataxic cerebral palsy have difficulty maintaining balance and coordinating movements. They may walk with their legs wider apart than other children and have difficulty doing activities that require small hand movements, such as writing. Some also have problems with depth perception, which means being able to accurately judge how close or far something is. Athetoid cerebral palsy (also known as non-spastic or dyskinetic cerebral palsy) affects about 2.6% of children with this condition.

It is characterized by increased muscle tone, which keeps muscles in a constant state of increased tension. People with athetoid cerebral palsy may experience slow and twisted involuntary movements, which usually affect the hands, feet, arms and legs. Hypotonic cerebral palsy is caused by weak muscles and affects around 10 percent of people with this condition. People with hypotonic cerebral palsy may miss certain developmental milestones, such as crawling, standing, or walking.

Anxiety and exertion can also exacerbate muscle spasticity in patients with this type of cerebral palsy. The severity of each type of cerebral palsy varies from person to person and can range from mild to severe. Mild spastic cerebral palsy can only impair the ability to complete specific tasks, while more severe spastic cerebral palsy can significantly affect a patient's ability to complete most tasks. If your child's condition was caused by medical negligence or malpractice, an attorney can help you obtain financial compensation to help cover the cost of medical bills and other expenses.