CP affects body movement, muscle control, muscle coordination, muscle tone, reflex, posture and balance, along with fine motor skills, gross motor skills and oral motor functioning. Other impairments may include intellectual impairment, seizures, and vision or hearing impairments.
What makes CP such an umbrella term is that every case is unique to the individual. The type of movement dysfunction, the location and number of limbs involved, as well as the extent of impairment, will vary from one individual to another.
- Mild – child can move without assistance; his or her daily activities are not limited.
- Moderate – child will need braces, medications, and adaptive technology to accomplish daily activities.
- Severe – child will require a wheelchair and will have significant challenges in accomplishing daily activities.
- No CP – child has CP signs, but the impairment was acquired after completion of brain development
- Monoplegia/monoparesis - one limb is affected
- Hemiplegia/hemiparesis- arm and leg on one side of the body are affected.
- Diplegia/diparesis - usually indicates the legs are affected more than the arms; primarily affects the lower body,
- Quadriplegia/quadriparesis - all four limbs are involved
- Motor Function:
- Spastic Cerebral Palsy is characterized by increased muscle tone.
- Non-spastic Cerebral Palsy will exhibit decreased or fluctuating muscle tone.
- Ataxic/ataxia: affects coordinated movements, balance, posture, walking ability, eye movements, depth perceptions and fine motor skills requiring coordination of the eyes and hands such as writing.
- Dyskinetic displays as involuntary movements. Athetoid is especially noticable in the arms, legs, and hands. Dystonia/Dystonic is accompanied by an abnormal, sustained posture and affect the trunk muscles more than the limbs.
Speech Therapy (ST) will play a big role in helping to improve swallowing and communication. Many children with dyskinetic cerebral palsy and some with spastic cerebral palsy have involvement of the face and oropharynx, causing dysphagia, drooling, and dysarthria. ST may also recommend and teach the child how to use augmentative communication devices if they have some motor control and adequate cognitive skills. Some Speech Language Pathologists (SLP) who are trained in feeding can help with any feeding difficulties that the child may have.
Types of Cerebral Palsy: http://www.cerebralpalsy.org/about-cerebral-palsy/types-and-forms