There are different types of CP
There are many different types of cerebral palsy (CP), which vary in the parts of the body that are affected, the type of impairment and the severity of mobility limitations.
Quadriplegia, or bilateral CP, affects all 4 limbs and occurs in about 23% of cases.
Diplegia affects both legs and occurs in about 38% of cases.
Hemiplegia, or unilateral CP, affects one side of the body and occurs in about 39% of cases.1
The severity of mobility limitations in cerebral palsy can differ greatly from one child to the next.
Each child with CP is unique, with varying abilities and disabilities.
Nonetheless, severity can be generally classified depending on the type
of motor function impairment and the part of the body that is mostly affected.
Hypotonic infants can sometimes be described as “floppy,” due to decreased muscle tone.
Some signs of hypotonia include a floppy head, feeling limp when held and flaccidity
at joints, among others.2
The severity of CP mobility limitations can also be categorized into 5 different levels,
according to the Gross Motor Function Classification System (GMFCS).3
Each level clearly describes the child’s current physical abilities and whether equipment
or mobility aids are or will be needed in the future.
GMFCS E & R between 6th and 12th birthday: Descriptors and illustrations
GMFCS E & R between 12th and 18th birthday: Descriptors and illustrations
It is important to recognise the diversity in CP cases and to remember that
every child with CP is unique, requiring personalised, tailored care.
- Reddihough DS and Collins KJ. The epidemiology and causes of cerebral palsy. Aust J Physiother. 2003;49(1):7-12.
- Prasad AN and Prasad C. Genetic evaluation of the floppy infant. Semin Fetal Neonatal Med. 2011;(16):99-108.
- Palisano R et al. Development and reliability of a system to classify gross motor function in children with cerebral palsy. Dev Med Child Neurol. 1997;39(4):214-23.