What is Cerebral Palsy?

What is Cerebral Palsy?

Cerebral palsy is a group of disorders in an immature brain (<7 or <8-9 years old) affecting posture and movement that is not progressing.


Types of Cerebral Palsy

  • Cerebral Palsy Spastic Quadriplegia

It is a type of cerebral palsy wherein all four limbs are affected. Individuals with this type are described as having stiffness of the four limbs including the neck, trunk with eye gaze directed upwards.

  • Cerebral Palsy Diplegia

Is a form of cerebral palsy wherein all four limbs of the body are affected but mostly manifests on the lower half of the body. They have an evident of muscle tightness and muscle stiffness which reduce the movement of the part of the body.

  • Cerebral Palsy Hemiplegia

Paralysis on one side of the body

  • Fluctuating Tone

This refers to the intermittent stiffness of the muscles of an individual. An individual can start from having very stiff muscles that can affect the whole body. The stiffness can be affected depending on the activity of the child such as having fatigue can contribute to stiff muscles while sleep can decrease the stiffness.


There are two types under fluctuating tone:

  • Athetoid – This refers to an individual that has slow, twisting-like involuntary movements of the body. The stiffness of the muscles can range from minimally stiff to having very stiff muscles.
  • Ataxic – This refers to an individual that has problems with coordination of their limbs as well as they have problems with balance. The stiffness of their muscle can range from very minimal stiffness to minimal stiffness of the muscles.
  • Hypotonia

Children with this type of cerebral palsy presents generalized weakness of the whole body which presents frog like posture.


How does OTs help individuals with Cerebral Palsy?

OTs focus on helping individuals who have difficulties in fulfilling or performing activities of activities of daily living, such as dressing, bathing, and feeding, education participation and social participation through meaningful activities. By engaging in meaningful activities, it can help them achieve and improve their highest possible functional performance within their home, school, and work environments.




Alexander, M.A. & Matthews, D.J. (2010). Pediatric Rehabilitation: Principle & Practice (4th Ed.). NY: Demos Medical.

Boehme, R.(1990). Developing mid-range and function in children with fluctuating muscles tone. Tucson, AZ: Therapy Skills Builders.

Bower, E. & Finnil, N.R. (2009). Finnies Handling the Young Child with Cerebral Palsy at Home: Butterworth Heinemann.

Molnar, G.E. (1991). Pediatric Rehabilitation (3rd Ed.). Baltimore: William & Wilkins

B. Electronic Sources

Occupational Therapy.(n.d.). Retrieved March 14, 2019, from https://www.philippinecerebralpalsy.com/services/occupational-therapy/

Related Pages

Do you suspect your child’s cerebral palsy was caused by a preventable birth injury?

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