Cerebral Palsy World
Home Contact Message Board Guestbook Chat Room Our Supporters
What is CP?
Signs & Symptoms
Types of CP
Real-Life Stories
CP & Your Health
Success Stories
History of CP
United Cerebral Palsy
Economic Impact
Independent Living
CP & Law
CP Dictionary
Causes of CP
CP & Education
CP & Celebrities
Ability Camp
Signs and Symptoms of Cerebral Palsy

All types of cerebral palsy are characterized by abnormal muscle tone (i.e. slouching over while sitting), reflexes, or motor development and coordination. There can be joint and bone deformities and contractures (permanently fixed, tight muscles and joints). The classical symptoms are spasticities, spasms, other involuntary movements (e.g. facial gestures), unsteady gait, problems with balance, and/or soft tissue findings consisting largely of decreased muscle mass. Scissor walking (where the knees come in and cross) and toe walking (which can contribute to a gait reminiscent of a marionette) are common among people with CP who are able to walk, but taken on the whole, CP symptomatology is very diverse. The effects of cerebral palsy fall on a continuum of motor dysfunction which may range from slight clumsiness at the mild end of the spectrum to impairments so severe that they render coordinated movement virtually impossible at the other end the spectrum.

Babies born with severe CP often have an irregular posture; their bodies may be either very floppy or very stiff. Birth defects, such as spinal curvature, a small jawbone, or a small head sometimes occur along with CP. Symptoms may appear or change as a child gets older. Some babies born with CP do not show obvious signs right away. Classically, CP becomes evident when the baby reaches the developmental stage at six and a half to 9 months and is starting to mobilise, where preferential use of limbs, asymmetry or gross motor developmental delay is seen.

Secondary conditions can include seizures, epilepsy, apraxia, dysarthria or other communication disorders, eating problems, sensory impairments, mental retardation, learning disabilities, and/or behavioral disorders.

Speech and language disorders are common in people with Cerebral Palsy. The incidence of dysarthria is estimated to range from 31% to 88%. Speech problems are associated with poor respiratory control, laryngeal and velopharyngeal dysfunction as well as oral articulation disorders that are due to restricted movement in the oral-facial muscles. There are three major types of dysarthria in cerebral palsy: spastic, dyskinetic (athetosis) and ataxic. Speech impairments in spastic dysarthria involves four major abnormalities of voluntary movement: spasticity, weakness, limited range of motion and slowness of movement. Speech mechanism impairment in athetosis involves a disorder in the regulation of breathing patterns, laryngeal dysfunction (monopitch, low, weak and breathy voice quality). It is also associated with articulatory dysfunction (large range of jaw movements), inappropriate positioning of the tongue, instability of velar elevation. Athetoid dysarthria is caused by disruption of the internal sensorimotor feedback system for appropriate motor commands, which leads to the generation of faulty movements that are perceived by others as involuntary. Ataxic dysarthria is uncommon in cerebral palsy. The speech characteristics are: imprecise consonants, irregular articulatory breakdown, distorted vowels, excess and equal stress, prolonged phonemes, slow rate, monopitch, monoloudness and harsh voice.[13]

Overall language delay is associated with problems of mental retardation, hearing impairment and learned helplessness.[3] Children with cerebral palsy are at risk of learned helplessness and becoming passive communicators, initiating little communication.[3] Early intervention with this clientele often targets situations in which children communicate with others, so that they learn that they can control people and objects in their environment through this communication, including making choices, decisions and mistakes.

Disclaimer    |   References and Sources
Website hosted by Computer Development Systems, LLC