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Mixed Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral palsy is a movement disorder caused by an injury to the brain. That injury can come from outside the brain, such as one caused by a drug the pregnant mother takes. Or the injury can come from some inherent abnormality in the development of the brain, such as the organ's failure to develop a certain type of structure.

While cerebral palsy originates as an abnormality in the growing fetal brain, children with cerebral palsy have a disorder of movement, posture, coordination and balance. The source of the problem is neurologic but the evidence of the problem is orthopedic.

Cerebral palsy is classified in numerous ways. It can be classified by:

  • Its severity
  • Its location
  • Its affect on motor function

The Gross Motor Function Classification System (GMFCS) defines cerebral palsy according to the extent of the child's ability combined with the limitation of impairment. It is a five-level system that is increasingly being used.

What Is Mixed Cerebral Palsy?

Two main groups comprise the classification of cerebral palsy by a child's type of motor function. A mixture of the two is called mixed cerebral palsy.

The two main groups of motor function classification are used by doctors. These refer to where in the brain the injury occurs. They are pyramidal (spastic) and extrapyramidal (non-spastic) cerebral palsy.

Spastic Cerebral Palsy

This spastic cerebral palsy refers to a child's increased muscle tone. It applies to 70 to 80 percent of children with cerebral palsy. The muscles of these children are in a constant state of contraction. This makes their limbs stiff and inflexible. Characteristics include:

  • Exaggerated reflexes
  • Jerky, awkward movements
  • Arms and legs are often both affected
  • The tongue, mouth, and pharynx may also be affected and can affect speech, eating, breathing and swallowing

The rigidity of the joints stresses the body and can result in dislocation of the hip, scoliosis (curvature of the spine), limb deformities, and painful joint deformities.

Non-Spastic Cerebral Palsy

Children with non-spastic cerebral palsy have fluctuating or decreased muscle tone. A common form of non-spastic cerebral palsy involves involuntary movement, which can be fast or slow, repetitious, and at times rhythmic. People with non-spastic cerebral may have what are called intention tremors when they are planning to make a movement. The chance that these people have joint and limb deformities is decreased.

Non-spastic cerebral palsy is primarily characterized by involuntary movement. This category is further divided into ataxic and dyskinetic cerebral palsy:

  • The ataxic form affects balance, posture and gait. Eye movement and depth perception are disturbed and hand-eye coordination in the case of fine motor skills such as hand writing are impaired.
  • Dyskinetic cerebral palsy may be athetoid (involuntary movement of the arms, hands and legs) or dystonic (a fixed, twisted posture due to problems with the muscles of the trunk).

Further classifications of dyskinetic cerebral palsy include athetosis, chorea, choreoathetoid, dystonia and ataxia.

Help for Parents

If your child is diagnosed with mixed cerebral palsy, or any type of cerebral palsy, it can be devastating. Our cerebral palsy attorneys may be able to help you find answers to questions such as:

  • Why did this happen?
  • How will I afford to pay for all these treatments?
  • Will I need to take time off work to care for my child?
  • Where can I find help and support?

To find out if we can help you get the compensation you need to pay for the highest quality treatments and care, please contact us today.