There are four primary classifications of cerebral palsy. Doctors diagnose cerebral palsy based on the type of motor dysfunction the child suffers, which is dependent on the areas of the brain that suffered injury.
Those four main classifications of cerebral palsy include:
- A mixture of two or more of the previous types of motor dysfunction
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Spastic Cerebral Palsy
Spastic cerebral palsy is a classification of the condition that means the patient has increased muscle tone and stiff muscles. This classification is by far the most common type of cerebral palsy and likely what most people think about when they think about the condition. These children can struggle with mobility, fine motor skills, and other concerns.
There are several sub-types of spastic cerebral palsy. The sub-type depends on how much of the body or which body parts are affected by the increased muscle tone.
Children with spastic diplegia are primarily affected in their lower body, although there may be some upper body involvement. They may struggle with mobility and have difficulty walking. Physical therapy, bracing, and other treatment may be necessary to prevent the hip and leg muscles from becoming too tight or contractures from forming. They often walk with a “scissoring” gait, where the knees turn inward and cross.
Children with spastic hemiplegia are affected only on their left or right side, with normal motor function generally intact on the opposite side. In most cases, the child will struggle with fine motor skills or actions that require coordination between both hands. The upper body usually has more spasticity than the lower body, meaning the arm is more affected than the leg.
Children with spastic quadriplegia often have significant impairments. The increased muscle tone that is the hallmark of spastic cerebral palsy causes them to have quadriplegia. It affects both arms, both legs, and often their faces. This condition makes it difficult or impossible to walk, talk, eat, or undertake actions that require fine motor skills. They often have one or more co-occurring conditions, as well. These co-occurring conditions could include epilepsy, an intellectual disability, or concerns about vision or hearing.
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Dyskinetic Cerebral Palsy
Children with dyskinetic cerebral palsy have unwanted, uncontrolled motor movements. There are several types of dyskinetic cerebral palsy, depending on the type of movements present. These include:
- Athetoid cerebral palsy
- Choreoathetoid cerebral palsy
- Dystonic cerebral palsy
Dyskinetic cerebral palsy is a motor movement disorder that makes it difficult or impossible for the person to control their limbs. When they try to control motor function to perform a task, they may instead experience quick, jerky movements or slow and writhing movements.
Unlike spastic cerebral palsy when the muscle tone is always too tight, those with dyskinetic cerebral palsy experience muscle tone that goes from too tight to too loose and back again. This condition is often unpredictable and makes it impossible to use the limbs affected.
In some cases, the person may also have difficulty controlling the muscle movements of their face and head. This difficulty can affect eating, swallowing, and communication.
Ataxic Cerebral Palsy
Children with ataxic cerebral palsy are often the last to get a diagnosis because they are generally less affected than those with other types of the condition. They struggle most with balance and coordination. Movements that require steady, careful control may be difficult or impossible. Coloring, writing, and similar tasks may be very difficult. Walking may be unsteady. Early intervention, when possible, and therapy can help improve their abilities significantly.
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Mixed Cerebral Palsy
In some cases, children will exhibit symptoms of multiple classifications of cerebral palsy. When this occurs, they receive a “mixed” diagnosis. For example, children with increased muscle tone and stiffness who also have uncontrolled movements may have spastic-dyskinetic cerebral palsy.
Your Child’s Cerebral Palsy May Support Legal Action
In some cases, it is possible to pursue compensation based on your child’s cerebral palsy diagnosis. You could recover a payout to pay for medical bills, ongoing care costs, medical equipment, pain and suffering, and more.
To learn if you have a viable case against the doctor or hospital, you should discuss your case with a birth injury medical malpractice attorney near you. They will evaluate your case for free, explain your legal options, and help you understand how long you have to take legal action based on the facts of your case and your state’s laws.
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Call the Birth Injury Lawyers Group at (800) 222-9529 today to set up your free case review to learn more.