CP describes a disability caused by damage to the part of the brain that controls movement and posture. It typically occurs during pregnancy, during or shortly after birth. It is the most common physical disability in childhood, occurring in around 2 in every 1000 live births. The effects may include difficulties with posture, movement, muscle control, coordination, muscle tone and balance.
Types of Cerebral Palsy
Spastic Cerebral Palsy
Spastic Cerebral Palsy is the most common type of CP, accounting for 70% – 80% of cases. Spasticity is a type of increased muscle tone/stiffness which makes movement difficult.
Dyskinetic Cerebral Palsy
Children with Dyskinetic CP have involuntary movements, which are often more noticeable when a child attempts to perform a task.
Movements can be :
Dystonic – twisting and repetitive movements and abnormal postures.
Athetoid – slow movements / uncontrolled rhythmic writhing movement
Ataxic Cerebral Palsy
Children with Ataxia have movements that are lacking in coordination and unstable.
Mixed Cerebral Palsy
Children with CP can have a combination of all the above. This is called Mixed Cerebral Palsy.
Classification of Cerebral Palsy
In addition to the above Types of CP, CP is further classified by the region of the body affected. These include:
Quadriplegia – all four limbs affected, sometimes including the head and neck.
Diplegia – both legs are affected, with mild involvement of upper limbs
Hemiplegia – one side of the body affected
CP is also further classified using the Gross Motor Function Classification System (GMFCS).
The Gross Motor Classification Level (GMFCS) uses a five-level system, which corresponds to the child’s functional ability and limitation. Each level is determined by an age range and a set of activities a child can achieve on their own.
GMFCS Classification Levels
GMFCS Level I: Walks without limitations
GMFCS Level II: Walks with limitations
GMFCS Level III: Walks with adaptive equipment assistance
GMFCS Level IV: Self-mobility with use of powered mobility assistance
GMFCS Level V: Transported in a manual wheelchair
The StarPhysio therapy team are highly experienced physiotherapists. We always work closely with our clients and their families to identify the activities that matter to them. We have a comprehensive ‘toolbox’ of different interventions that can help promote a child’s physical development (sitting, standing and walking), improve functional ability, enhance stamina, strength and endurance, reduce pain and discomfort, maximise the range of movement. To name just a few of our interventions, we use Bobath therapy, elastic therapeutic taping, targeted motor training, strengthening, dynamic stretching, aquatic therapy, splinting and 24-hour postural positioning management. We recommend Lycra, orthotics and equipment and suggest activities/clubs and sports that may be beneficial to our client’s physical development.