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Schachter, Hendy & Johnson, Attorneys At Law

Understanding the Three Classifications of Cerebral Palsy with the Help of a KY Birth Injury Lawyer

When a child is diagnosed with cerebral palsy (CP), the type of CP can be classified by the motor impairments produced, which are different for each of the three main forms. Sadly, in all types of cerebral palsy, brain damage affects the motor system and causes balance issues, problems with movement, poor coordination, learning disabilities, and other neurological disorders.

In most cases of cerebral palsy, the brain damage from birth trauma is static. This means that it may not get better over time, but it will also not get worse through the years. Children with this CP may have one of the three different classifications of cerebral palsy, including:

  • Spastic Cerebral Palsy – This type of CP is the most common form, affecting about 80 percent of people with CP. A person with spastic CP has stiff muscles and the inability to relax his or her muscles. Muscle tone is tight, and movement is limited. This also causes ligaments to not grow or stretch – causing overall body stiffness. It is defined by “abnormal control of voluntary limb muscles and associated with an enduring positive Babinski reflex, the presence of a clasp knife effect, and by exaggerated reflexes.”
  • Athetoid Cerebral Palsy – Only about 10 percent of children have this type of CP. This may occur in a Kentucky birth injury from damage to the cerebellum or basal ganglia – the center of the brain that controls movement and manages coordination. People with athetoid CP have speech difficulties, problems swallowing, lack of coordination, tremors, and involuntary movements in the arms, face, and trunk. The unintentional movements cause problems with feeding and speaking; however, the symptoms generally disappear when sleeping. 
  • Ataxic Cerebral Palsy – This is the least common type of cerebral palsy, affecting approximately five percent of people diagnosed with CP. Children who suffer this type of CP have suffered damage to the cerebellum. It is characterized by shakiness and a lack of balance. People with ataxic CP have unsteady hands, low muscle tone, difficulty standing in one place without moving, a staggering walk, trouble writing, disturbed depth perception, and issues with fine motor control activities. 

The remaining people diagnosed with cerebral palsy have a combination of all three types. In all cases of CP, infants will need ongoing care and medical attention for the rest of their lives. If your son or daughter was a victim of a Kentucky or Ohio birth injury, you may have rights to seek compensation. Call the knowledgeable Northern Kentucky birth injury lawyers at the Law Office of Schachter, Hendy & Johnson to find out more about your rights at (859) 578-4444 or (888) 606-5297 in a free, no-obligation legal consultation today.

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