What is Atypical Cerebral Palsy?
Atypical cerebral palsy (CP) is a neurological disorder that affects movement and muscle coordination. It is caused by damage to the brain before birth or during early childhood. CP is one of the most common types of physical disability affecting children. About 1 out of every 1000 babies born in the United States has some form of CP.
The term atypical refers to a condition that differs from typical. In this case, atypical means different than normal. The word “cerebral” comes from the Latin word cerebrum which means “brain.” Cerebral palsy is a general term used to describe disorders of movement and posture due to abnormal development of the brain.
There are many causes of cerebral palsy. Some of these include premature delivery, low birth weight, infections, trauma, genetic factors, and certain medications taken during pregnancy. There are four main types of cerebral palsy: spastic, athetoid, mixed, and dyskinetic. Each type has its own symptoms and characteristics.
Spastic cerebral palsy is characterized by involuntary muscle contractions that cause stiffness and difficulty moving. This type of cerebral palsy usually occurs when the baby’s brain is damaged during labor. Spastic cerebral palsy often involves muscles in the legs, arms, and trunk.
Athetotic cerebral palsy is characterized as having jerky movements. Athetosis is a symptom of another condition called chorea. Chorea is a disease that causes uncontrollable twitching of the body. Athetosis is sometimes seen in people who have epilepsy.
Mixed cerebral palsy combines features of two different types of cerebral palsy. For example, a person might have spasticity in one arm and athetoidism in the other. Dyskinesia is a combination of athetoidism and dystonia. Dystonia is a condition where a part of the body becomes rigid and cannot move normally.
Dyskinetic cerebral palsy is characterized with uncontrolled movements. People with dyskinetic cerebral palsy tend to shake their head, twist their neck, and clench their fists. They may also make repetitive motions such as rocking back and forth or flapping their hands.