Home / Understanding the Types of Cerebral Palsy

Understanding the Types of Cerebral Palsy

Understanding the Types of Cerebral Palsy

A diagnosis of Cerebral Palsy for a child can be hard on any parent. A neurological condition that has no conclusive cure, Cerebral Palsy affects muscle movement and functionality, and can make it hard for your child to do things independently. Thus, it is crucial to be aware of what the condition looks like, what the symptoms are and most importantly, where you can get the best Cerebral Palsy treatment in Bangalore.

In this blog, we offer a quick guide to the types of Cerebral Palsy, and their distinct characteristics.

Understanding Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral Palsy refers to a group of neurological disorders that affect movement, muscle tone, coordination, and compromised motor skills, caused by damage or some abnormality in the developing brain. It is usually diagnosed by the time the child is three years old, and is a lifelong non-progressive condition that may also affect visual and sensory abilities. While Cerebral Palsy can make it hard for the child to function normally, treatment options such as Physiotherapy, Occupational Therapy, Behavioral Therapy, and Speech Therapy can help greatly.

Early Signs of Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral Palsy occurs because of damage to the brain at birth or soon after. The symptoms can begin manifesting from a few months of age. While most doctors will not give a conclusive diagnosis until your child is two or three years old, parents can keep an eye out for certain signs that merit a check-up. Some of the early symptoms common to all types of Cerebral Palsy include:

  • Poor coordination
  • Deformities in the bones and/or joints
  • Difficulty in feeding
  • Retention of primitive reflexes past the appropriate age
  • Floppiness or unusual stiffness in the limbs
  • Reduced muscle mass

If your child displays some or all of these symptoms, it helps to do a developmental screening right away so that the doctor can assess your child’s condition further.

Read more about the characteristics of Cerebral Palsy here

Types of Cerebral Palsy

Depending on which part of the brain is affected, there are four main types of Cerebral Palsy that your child might be diagnosed with. These include:

Spastic Cerebral Palsy

This is the most prevalent type of Cerebral Palsy and accounts for about 80% of cases. It is characterized by increased muscle tone, causing stiffness and difficulty in movement. The affected muscles may tighten and contract, leading to awkward and jerky motions. Patients with Spastic Cerebral Palsy may experience muscle stiffness, exaggerated reflexes, muscle weakness, and abnormal walking behaviors like scissoring. It can manifest in the entire body or just on one side. Spastic Cerebral Palsy can be further categorized, based on the limbs affected, into the following:


  1. Spastic Diplegia: Primarily affecting the legs, spastic diplegia results in difficulties with walking and balance.
  2. Spastic Hemiplegia: Only one side of the body, either the left or right, is affected. Limbs on the affected side may experience stiffness and reduced range of motion.
  3. Spastic Quadriplegia: This is the most severe form of Spastic Cerebral Palsy. It impacts all four limbs and often the trunk, leading to significant challenges in mobility and daily activities.

Dyskinetic Cerebral Palsy

Patients with Dyskinetic Cerebral Palsy exhibit involuntary abnormal movements in the face and limbs. The movements may be stiff and jerky or slow and writhing, and affect the patient’s ability to sit, stand, walk, and perform daily tasks. Dyskinetic Cerebral Palsy is further divided into two subtypes: athetoid and dystonic.

  1. Athetoid Cerebral Palsy: It is marked by slow, continuous, and uncontrollable movements. Athetoid Cerebral Palsy primarily affects the hands, feet, face, and torso.
  2. Dystonic Cerebral Palsy: In this subtype of Cerebral Palsy, muscle tone fluctuations lead to sustained contractions, causing repetitive and often twisting movements.


Hypotonic Cerebral Palsy

This type of Cerebral Palsy leads to overly relaxed muscles, causing the limbs to appear floppy. In young children, this leads to trouble controlling the head and face muscles, which can cause difficulties with feeding, swallowing, and breathing.

Ataxic Cerebral Palsy: This type of Cerebral Palsy is characterized by clumsy or jerky movements. Patients will usually have trouble with walking and fine motor skills such as picking things up or holding something. Ataxic Cerebral Palsy is the least common subtype, accounting for around 5-10% of cases.

Mixed Cerebral Palsy

This refers to a combination of the above symptoms of two or more types. Usually, mixed CP involves symptoms of Spastic and Dyskinetic Cerebral Palsy.

Mixed Cerebral Palsy in children requires a multidisciplinary approach to address the diverse needs of the child.

Types of Cerebral Palsy in Infants

It is absolutely vital to understand the types of Cerebral Palsy in infants for early detection and intervention. Prompt support can significantly impact a child’s developmental trajectory. The following are the types of Cerebral Palsy in infants:

Spastic Cerebral Palsy in infants becomes apparent as the child begins to develop motor skills. Early intervention is key in managing Spastic Cerebral Palsy in infants to optimize their physical and cognitive development.

Dyskinetic Cerebral Palsy in infancy causes infants to exhibit unusual and involuntary movements. Recognizing the signs early on allows for timely interventions, including physical therapy and assistive devices, to improve your little one’s overall motor function.

Early Rolling Cerebral Palsy is a specific type of Cerebral Palsy in infancy where motor development, particularly the ability to roll over (typically between 3 months and 5 months), is delayed. Infants with this form of Cerebral Palsy may not be able to achieve their developmental milestones within the stipulated time frame, affecting their overall motor skills.

Types of Cerebral Palsy in the Elderly

Although a rare occurrence, Late-Onset Cerebral Palsy in the elderly can severely impact the individual’s quality of life. This type of Cerebral Palsy may result from age-related degeneration or vascular events affecting the brain. Both of these can result in motor impairments.

Classification of Cerebral Palsy by Severity

The Gross Motor Function Classification System (GMFCS) classifies Cerebral Palsy into five levels based on the patient’s ability to move independently and their reliance on aids for mobility. These include:

Level 1: The patient can walk without difficulty.

Level 2: The patient can walk long distances but has trouble with running or jumping. They may need a wheelchair to navigate outside their home and may also use a cane or leg brace when learning to walk.

Level 3: The patient can stand without support and sit with only some support, but needs a cane or walker to move around inside the home and a wheelchair outside the home.

Level 4: The patient can stand and walk with assistive devices and can navigate independently in a wheelchair.

Level 5: The patient needs support to sit, stand, and to control their head and neck. They can navigate independently in a motorized wheelchair.

The categories of Cerebral Palsy as mentioned above can help guide doctors and healthcare professionals in developing appropriate interventions for the patient.

Cerebral Palsy may be difficult to live with, but treatment can surely make things easier for even severe cases. From regular Occupational Therapy, to the use of assistive devices, there are several ways to restore or improve functionality and ensure that the patient leads an active, fulfilling life. A prompt diagnosis of the exact type of Cerebral Palsy will greatly help in commencing prompt treatment.

At Plexus, we offer customized rehabilitation for Cerebral Palsy consisting of stem cell therapy, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech and language therapy, early intervention therapy, cognitive rehabilitation therapy, pre-academic skills training, and so on.

Read more about stem cell therapy for Cerebral Palsy here.

Read more about occupational therapy for Cerebral Palsy here.


To know more about our Cerebral Palsy rehabilitation programs, reach out to our team today.

WhatsApp +91 89048 42087

Call +91 78159 64668 (Hyderabad) | +91 82299 99888 (Bangalore)


What are 5 symptoms of Cerebral Palsy?

The most common symptoms of Cerebral Palsy include:

  • Muscle stiffness or weakness
  • Coordination challenges
  • Involuntary movements
  • Difficulty with fine motor skills
  • Delays in reaching developmental milestones

At what age is CP diagnosed?

Cerebral Palsy is typically diagnosed in early childhood, often by age two. However, the exact age may vary depending on the severity of symptoms and the specific type of Cerebral Palsy.

Can kids with CP live a normal life?

With appropriate support and interventions, children with Cerebral Palsy can lead fulfilling lives. Reach out to our team of CP experts at our centers in Bangalore and Hyderabad to know more about how therapies, assistive devices, and educational accommodations can help maximize independence and participation in daily activities.

What is the main cause of Cerebral Palsy?

The primary cause of Cerebral Palsy is brain damage or abnormalities during fetal development or early infancy. Premature birth, infections, or oxygen deprivation during childbirth, and other factors can contribute to this damage.

What is the best treatment for Cerebral Palsy?

Treatment for Cerebral Palsy often involves a multidisciplinary approach, including physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, and medications to manage symptoms. Early intervention and ongoing therapeutic support are crucial for optimizing a child’s development and quality of life. At Plexus, we also offer stem cell therapy for Cerebral Palsy. This revolutionary and individualized form of treatment has improved the quality of lives of over 5,00,000 little ones from across the world.

WhatsApp chat
Check your eligibility for treatment here
Translate »