Ataxic Cerebral Palsy

There are nine forms of cerebral palsy – a condition in which brain abnormalities or damage interfere with the normal relaying of nerve messages from the brain to the nervous system. Ataxic cerebral palsy is one of the rarer forms of cerebral palsy (CP); fewer than one in ten people with CP have the ataxic form. The term ataxic comes ataxia, a medical term referring to loss of muscle coordination, particularly in the limb. Ataxic cerebral palsy is less disabling than some of the other forms of cerebral palsy, but it has a significant impact on patients’ lives.

Depth perception and balance are affected by ataxic cerebral palsy. People with ataxic CP have difficulty with coordination; some must walk by planting their feet an unusual distance apart. Quick movements are difficult. So are activities that require precision movements, such as putting a coin in a slot. Some people with ataxic cerebral palsy experience a symptom called an intention tremor. This means that when they are deliberately reaching for something their hand or hands begin to tremble. The tremble worsens the nearer they come to the object they are reaching for. Ataxic cerebral palsy can cause mental retardation, but generally intelligence is unaffected by this form of CP. All forms of CP can sometimes affect vision and/or hearing.

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