Four main types
There are four main types of cerebral palsy: spastic, dyskinetic, ataxic and mixed.
Spastic cerebral palsy
This is the most common type of cerebral palsy. Spastic means the affected muscles are stiffer and tighter than normal. How stiff the muscle is will vary from person to person.
Dyskinetic cerebral palsy
In this type of cerebral palsy the muscle tone can suddenly change from high (tight) to low (floppy), causing uncontrolled involuntary movements or spasms.
Ataxic cerebral palsy
This is the least common type of cerebral palsy. Movement is often shaky and balance can be poor. Children often have difficulty with the fine control of movement and may have a tremor that increases on activity. Muscle tone is usually low (slightly floppy) and this can make sustaining upright postures such as sitting or standing difficult.
Mixed cerebral palsy
Mixed types of CP features of more than one type of cerebral palsy.
Cerebral palsy affects different parts of the body
Unilateral CP or Hemiplegia means one side of the body is affected – either the left side, or the right side.
Bilateral CP involves both sides of the body and can also be described as:
Diplegia where the legs are more affected than the arms. The trunk is typically also involved.
Quadriplegia (also called total body involvement) is where the whole body is involved. This includes the trunk, head control and often control of the muscles of the face and mouth.