Super Lawyers
Illinois State Bar Association
Justia Lawyer Rating
Million Dollar Advocates Forum
Avvo Rating
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers BBB Business Review

Types of Cerebral Palsy

According to the Centers for Disease Control, one in every 345 children is affected by cerebral palsy (CP). This disease is usually not one that children are born with naturally. Most often, cerebral palsy happens as the result of brain damage.

This brain injury usually happens either in utero or during childbirth, often due to medical negligence. While cerebral palsy primarily affects voluntary movement, many disease symptoms will harm the child's health both now and in the future.

If your child has received a cerebral palsy diagnosis, your family is facing financial and physical difficulties. If your loved one has any of the types of cerebral palsy that we describe below, the cerebral palsy attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC can help you seek financial compensation from the doctor that was responsible for your child's injury.

Call our personal injury legal team at (888) 424-5757 to schedule a free consultation.

Risk Factors for Cerebral Palsy

Here are some things that may increase the child's chances of suffering a brain injury that could cause cerebral palsy:

  • A difficult delivery where the doctor should have performed a c-section to minimize the chance of brain injury
  • Premature birth
  • A maternal infection (or an infection in utero)
  • Low birth weight
  • Exposure to toxic substances during pregnancy

According to the National Institute of Health, experts are conducting childhood disability research to learn the roles of mishaps early in brain developmental disabilities. Human development can be harmed when someone does not properly do their job.

Cerebral palsy is almost always an acquired brain injury. In most cases, someone is responsible for the injury, and they can be made to pay in a lawsuit. Nonetheless, you would need to prove that someone was negligent and that their negligence caused your child's injury.

Diagnosing Cerebral Palsy

If you suspect your child has cerebral palsy because they are exhibiting one of the symptoms described below or missed developmental milestones, you should immediately seek professional medical advice. The doctor may use some medical evaluations to diagnose your child. It could include:

  • Developmental screening
  • Blood tests
  • MRIs

Health professionals will likely perform several intellectual and developmental disabilities medical evaluations before concluding that your child has cerebral palsy. The best result from a developmental screening test iwould be that your child does not have cerebral palsy. However, learning the facts can help you get immediate help and establish a care plan for your child.

Symptoms of Cerebral Palsy

The common symptoms might alert parents that something is wrong with their child and they should be tested. Most types of cerebral palsy cause:

  • Stiff muscles
  • Exaggerated reflexes
  • Difficulty grasping objects
  • Excessive drooling
  • Missing key developmental milestones, such as sitting up and keeping their head up on their own
  • Inability to lift their head
  • Motor function problems
  • Inability to properly use all four limbs

Parents should not overlook these symptoms of most cerebral palsy types and should get a medical opinion when they notice abnormal development.

Your child's health and developmental milestones are of paramount concern. In addition, the time clock for filing a lawsuit may begin to run from the first time you may have noticed your child's symptoms because, at that point, you should have known that your child was injured.

Spastic Cerebral Palsy

Spastic cerebral palsy is the most common type of cerebral palsy. Roughly 70-80% of cerebral palsy cases are spastic cerebral palsy. Spastic cerebral palsy primarily results from damage to the motor cortex.

Spastic cerebral palsy patients will have increased muscle tone. It will cause muscle stiffness. Stiff muscles can have many impacts on the child.

One of the most common manifestations of spastic cerebral palsy is difficulty walking. While half the children diagnosed with cerebral palsy will be able to walk independently.

Spastic Diplegia

This is a more mild form of one of the cerebral palsy types, affecting primarily the legs. Most individuals with spastic diplegia will have full intellectual abilities and can walk by their own power. They may even only have difficulty with only one limb. However, they will still have issues with function in their legs and may need the help of an assistive device to walk.

Spastic Quadriplegia

Spastic quadriplegia is the most serious type of spastic cerebral palsy. It affects both the upper body and the lower body parts. Children with spastic quadriplegia will experience common symptoms of paralysis in all body parts below the head, including in their legs, arms, and torso. A lack of total head control might also be involved.

Like most types of cerebral palsy, spastic quadriplegia is caused by brain damage that affects the motor cortex and spinal cord. It can occur during difficult labor or delivery, but it is often due to medical negligence.

Ataxic Cerebral Palsy

Ataxic cerebral palsy results from an injury to the brain's cerebellum. This form of CP affects precise movements. The common symptoms of ataxic cerebral palsy are problems with balance and coordination.

Children could struggle with activities that require fine motor skills, such as writing. Some children may walk with their feet far apart, much more than other children. Other children with this condition may have reduced depth perception.

Ataxic cerebral palsy is a type of movement and control-affected disorder caused by damage to parts of the brain responsible for controlling balance and coordination. It is characterized by poor muscle control, difficulty with movement, and an unsteady gait.

Individuals with ataxic cerebral palsy may have difficulty walking or running and trouble coordinating movements such as writing or speaking. They may also have poor balance and difficulty with fine motor tasks.

Treatment for this type of cerebral palsy often focuses on physical and occupational therapy to improve balance and coordination. Some medications may be prescribed to help control muscle spasms or seizures. Surgery can also be an option if the disorder causes physical deformities.

Although living with this type of cerebral palsy can be challenging, individuals can still lead full and meaningful lives with the right support and care.

Dyskinetic Cerebral Palsy and Basal Ganglia

The child's basal ganglia are damaged in dyskinetic (athetoid) cerebral palsy. The basal ganglia are the brain's primary part responsible for muscle tone.

Dyskinetic cerebral palsy is the second most common form of the disease. Roughly 20% of cerebral palsy cases are dyskinetic. Another name for this type of cerebral palsy is athetoid cerebral palsy.

With dyskinetic (athetoid) cerebral palsy, your child may alternate back and forth between tight and loose muscle tone. In other words, they will sometimes have hypotonia (a severe type of increased muscle tone leading to stiffness of all four limbs).

This type of cerebral palsy often results in involuntary movements as the child's muscle tone transitions between the two states of stiff and floppy muscles.

Because of the varying muscle tone, the child will have trouble controlling their arms and leg muscles. They may have random, uncontrolled, and involuntary movement disorders. With dyskinetic CP, your child may have jerky movements.

They could also have writhing movements when they are struggling to control themselves. They lose much of their ability to control their muscle movement. This involuntary movement disorder is constant.

Dystonic Cerebral Palsy

This palsy is a form of dyskinetic (athetoid) cerebral palsy. Children with this condition may have difficulty sitting still or lying down.

The uncontrollable movement may make them uncomfortable and unable to remain in one place for an extended period of time. The child may have particular difficulty sleeping due to fidgeting and discomfort.

Children will first have symptoms of dystonic cerebral palsy in their hands and arms before it spreads to the rest of their bodies.

Hypotonic Cerebral Palsy

Hypotonic cerebral palsy, also referred to as atonic cerebral palsy, is a type of movement-affected disorder caused by injury to the brain. It affects an individual's ability to control muscles, decreasing muscle tone and movement.

Individuals with hypotonic cerebral palsy may have very limp movements or even appear floppy due to their lack of muscle tone.

People with hypotonic cerebral palsy often struggle with head control, unstable eye movements, muscle coordination, motor function, and muscle movement problems when walking. They may also suffer from joint pain due to the lack of muscle support around their joints.

Voluntary Movement Can Stimulate Unplanned Movement Problems

People with hypotonic cerebral palsy can sometimes have difficulty swallowing or eating due to the lack of muscle control in their mouth and throat. A speech therapist may help teach the individual how to swallow safely and effectively.

Individuals with hypotonic cerebral palsy need regular physical and occupational therapy to strengthen and maintain muscle control and mobility. Physical therapy can also help with coordination and balance, reducing the risk of falls or injury. Occupational therapists can work on activities of daily living (ADLs), such as brushing teeth and dressing.

In addition, a doctor may recommend medications to assist with muscle control, spasms, or seizures. In some cases, surgery may be necessary to correct any physical deformities or problems caused by hypotonic cerebral palsy.

Overall, the treatments for hypotonic cerebral palsy are aimed at helping individuals build strength, improve coordination, and maintain physical health. Individuals with this type of cerebral palsy can lead full and meaningful lives with the right support and care.

It is important to remember that every person with cerebral palsy is unique, so finding an individualized treatment plan for each person is key to managing their condition effectively.

Extra Pyramidal (Non-Spastic) Cerebral Palsy

Non-spastic cerebral palsy is a type of motor disorder caused by injury to the brain. It is characterized by movement disorders that are not spastic in nature, such as chorea and athetosis.

Chorea is an involuntary, jerky, dance-like movement that can involve any part of the body. Athetosis is a slow, writhing movement that often affects the hands, feet, and face.

Extra pyramidal (non-spastic) cerebral palsy can be difficult to diagnose as it often presents differently than spastic forms of cerebral palsy. An individual with non-spastic cerebral palsy must receive a comprehensive neurological evaluation to accurately identify the disorder and determine appropriate treatment options.

Treatment for non-spastic cerebral palsy usually involves physical and occupational therapies to help improve muscle strength and coordination. Medications may also be prescribed to help control involuntary movements or spasms. Surgery can sometimes be an option to correct physical deformities caused by the disorder.

Living with non-spastic cerebral palsy can be challenging, but individuals can lead full and meaningful lives with the right support and care.

Mixed Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral palsy may be present in many forms. Roughly 15% of cerebral palsy cases are mixed, meaning the child has to deal with even more symptoms. Mixed cerebral palsy can be the most severe form of the disease, given the number of issues that the child may face.

The most common form of mixed cerebral palsy is spastic and dyskinetic (athetoid) cerebral palsy. The next most common combination is spastic and ataxic cerebral palsy.

Mixed cerebral palsy types are usually the results of injury in multiple locations of the brain.

Spastic Hemiplegia

Spastic hemiplegia is a type of cerebral palsy that affects one side of the body. It is caused by damage to the motor cortex, which controls movement on the opposite side of the body from where it was damaged.

This type of cerebral palsy affects both arms and legs and can cause muscle tightness or spasms and poor coordination and balance.

Treatment for this type of cerebral palsy usually involves physical or occupational therapy to help improve muscle strength and flexibility, coordination, and balance. Medications may be prescribed to help control spasms or seizures. Surgery can also be an option if the disorder causes physical deformities.

Living with this type of cerebral palsy can be difficult, but individuals can still lead full and meaningful lives with the right support and care.

Living a Fulfilling Life

With proper supportive care, individuals with cerebral palsy can live long, healthy, fulfilling lives. Treatment plans should be individualized to meet the specific needs of each person. Those with the disorder can find comfort in knowing that many support services are available to help them manage their condition.

With the right team of professionals, individuals can find hope and joy despite their diagnosis. Those with cerebral palsy can live happy, successful lives with determination and treatment.

Other Cerebral Palsy Symptoms

Here are some other symptoms that children with cerebral palsy may experience:

  • Speech impairments
  • Depth perception difficulties
  • Motor dysfunction (decreased motor function can be evidenced by difficulties in grasping things and writing)

Since cerebral palsy involves brain damage, it often goes along with other disorders. The child could also have epilepsy or attention deficit disorder. They may also have other mood disorders or learning disabilities.

Treatment Program for Cerebral Palsy Cases

While cerebral palsy is a permanent injury, the developing brain can benefit from intensive therapy and treatment. Your child will have a team of professionals responsible for a treatment plan. Your child's development can benefit, although these treatments can be very expensive.

Here are some of the treatments that may be necessary for your child's growth and to foster brain development:

  • Physical therapy
  • Occupational therapy
  • Speech therapy
  • Music therapy
  • Special education

Cerebral palsy can involve experimental treatments to improve fine motor skills and muscle control. These therapies and treatments can be expensive.

One study indicates that children who suffer from cerebral palsy will have medical bills that are 26 times those of a child without this injury.

In addition, your child will suffer both physically and emotionally, and cannot live a fully normal life with a body affected by this disease.

Contact a Cerebral Palsy Lawyer Today

If your child has been diagnosed with one of the cerebral palsy types after suffering a birth injury, your family may be entitled to substantial financial compensation if it was the result of a medical professional's negligence.

Neurological disorders can be very expensive to treat, and your family will bear a significant toll from your child's brain injury or other health issues affected by cerebral palsy.

The cerebral palsy attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC will fight for your family to receive the maximum possible compensation after a medical professional committed malpractice.

Call us at (888) 424-5757 or call us online to schedule your free initial consultation.

Types of Cerebral Palsy FAQs

Our personal injury law firm understands that many families have unanswered questions about the types of cerebral palsy caused by medical malpractice and mistakes. Many people suffer movement control-affected muscles since birth or within the first few years of life.

Does Cerebral Palsy Always Result from a Birth Injury?

Most cases of cerebral palsy result from a birth injury, diagnosed before the child is two. However, other forms of brain trauma can cause cerebral palsy, although acquired cerebral palsy is relatively rare. Nonetheless, you will still have to prove that the doctor or registered nurse was negligent and that their negligence caused your child's birth injury.

Will My Cerebral Palsy Lawsuit Settle Out of Court?

Most birth injury cases will eventually reach a settlement agreement. The insurance company and the hospital that employs the doctor or registered nurse may be afraid to face a jury when a negligent professional severely injures a child.

Nonetheless, there are cases in which the defendant will adamantly deny liability. In these cases, you need an attorney with courtroom experience who knows how to explain complex scientific concepts to a jury to prove how their negligence affected the victim.

How Much Will a Cerebral Palsy Attorney Cost Me?

When your child has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy, finances are an obvious concern. A birth injury attorney will not cost you any money upfront. At Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, we do not send bills as your case works through the legal process.

We are paid on a contingency basis, meaning that we receive a part of the proceeds of your case only if you receive a settlement or jury award.

How Long Do I Have to File a Lawsuit in My Birth Injury Case?

Each state will have its statute of limitations that begins to run when you knew or should have known your child was injured. You have two years to file your lawsuit in Illinois birth injury cases.

What is The Gross Motor Function Classification System (GMFCS)?

Diagnosticians use the Gross Motor Function Classification System (GMFCS) to assess the severity of a child's cerebral palsy. The GMFCS has five levels based on the child's abilities to perform everyday activities based on motor function and limitations.

  • Level I: The child can walk independently indoors and outdoors and move freely without motor function limitations or restrictions.
  • Level II: The child needs some help with walking or running but can still manage independently (some muscles are affected by one or more types of cerebral palsy).
  • Level III: The child can walk independently indoors but needs a mobility device (like a wheelchair or cane) to move around outdoors (moderately affected by cerebral palsy).
  • Level IV: The child has limited mobility (up to three limbs might be affected) and can crawl instead of walking using at least one arm (right or left arm) .
  • Level V: The child cannot sit upright, crawl, or stand and must use a wheelchair or other mobility device for most activities (major motor function limitation involving at least three limbs affected by the condition).

All types of cerebral palsy vary greatly in how the individual is affected. However, with proper care and management, individuals can lead rewarding lives full of joy, meaning, success, and hope.

An experienced team of health professionals will help children with cerebral palsy to maximize their potential and manage their condition. A typical team usually includes a diagnostician, neurologist, specialized registered nurse, and others.

Hire Personal Injury Lawyers to Resolve Your Cerebral Palsy Compensation Claim

Do you suspect your child's cerebral palsy, birth injuries, or medical concerns result from medical malpractice? The personal injury lawyers at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC, advocate for every young child suffering involuntary movements or intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Call us at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone call) or use the contact form to schedule a free consultation to discuss your claim.

We accept cases involving all types of cerebral palsy on a contingency fee basis, meaning you only pay our fees after we successfully resolve your claim through a negotiated settlement or jury award.

Resources:

Client Reviews
★★★★★
Jonathan Rosenfeld was professionally objective, timely, and knowledgeable. Also, his advice was extremely effective regarding my case. In addition, Jonathan was understanding and patient pertaining to any of my questions or concerns. I was very happy with the end result and I highly recommend Jonathan Rosenfeld. Michonne Proulx
★★★★★
Extremely impressed with this law firm. They took control of a bad motorcycle crash that left my uncle seriously injured. Without any guarantee of a financial recovery, they went out and hired accident investigators and engineers to help prove how the accident happened. I am grateful that they worked on a contingency fee basis as there was no way we could have paid for these services on our own. Ethan Armstrong
★★★★★
This lawyer really helped me get compensation for my motorcycle accident case. I know there is no way that I could have gotten anywhere near the amount that Mr. Rosenfeld was able to get to settle my case. Thank you. Daniel Kaim
★★★★★
Jonathan helped my family heal and get compensation after our child was suffered a life threatening injury at daycare. He was sympathetic and in constant contact with us letting us know all he knew every step of the way. We were so blessed to find Jonathan! Giulia
★★★★★
Jonathan did a great job helping my family navigate through a lengthy lawsuit involving my grandmother's death in a nursing home. Through every step of the case, Jonathan kept my family informed of the progression of the case. Although our case eventually settled at a mediation, I really was impressed at how well prepared Jonathan was to take the case to trial. Lisa