Challenges of Athetoid Cerebral Palsy

Athetoid cerebral palsy is one of several forms of cerebral palsy, and is caused by damage to the brain during pregnancy, labor, or due to an injury sustained in early childhood. Athetoid CP occurs in approximately 10-20 percent of cerebral palsy cases.

Those diagnosed with athetoid cerebral palsy have usually suffered damage to the basal ganglia area of the brain. The basal ganglia is responsible for coordination and body posture. Therefore, this form of the condition is characterized by involuntary movement that can affect the limbs and face.

Muscles alternate between being tense and limp. This problem can cause movements to appear jerky and random. Those affected may have difficulty grasping objects, speaking, eating, and reaching. They often have trouble coordinating walking or even sitting. The symptoms are most present during times of anxiety, and sometimes wane during sleep.

Speech is almost always affected to some extent in people with athetoid CP because of the difficulty with coordinating the tongue, vocal cords and breathing. This issue can also cause eating challenges and drooling. Beginning physical therapy soon after diagnosis is often very helpful for those with athetoid CP.

Cerebral palsy is a condition that is often preventable. If you have a child affected by cerebral palsy that was likely caused by a medical error, you may wish to discuss your options with a qualified attorney.

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