Types of Non-Spastic Cerebral Palsy: Mixed CP

Types of Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral palsy can take various forms. Whether it’s spastic, dyskinetic, or ataxic, each affects the patient’s body in different ways. In some cases, a child may have symptoms from multiple forms of cerebral palsy—this is known as mixed CP.

What is Mixed CP, Exactly?

Mixed cerebral palsy refers to a condition where multiple forms of cerebral palsy are present. A child who exhibits symptoms of two or more types of CP is said to have mixed cerebral palsy. Although this condition is less common than other types of CP, it is important to understand its symptoms and treatment. According to the CDC, the most common type of mixed CP is spastic-dyskinetic.

How Does Mixed CP Commonly Occur?

Cerebral palsy refers to a group of disorders affecting a person’s ability to move or maintain their balance or posture, as well as various other conditions that can arise in conjunction with CP.

Generally, cerebral palsy is caused by either abnormal brain development or injury to the brain during pregnancy or at birth. Infections during or before birth, lack of oxygen at birth, or a stroke suffered during birth are all potential mixed cerebral palsy causes.

The term cerebral palsy commonly refers to three different forms of afflictions:

  1. Spastic cerebral palsy, which causes stiffness and movement difficulties
  2. Dyskinetic, or athetoid, cerebral palsy, which causes uncontrolled movements
  3. Ataxic cerebral palsy, which causes a problem with balance and depth perception

With mixed CP, a child may be experiencing various symptoms and conditions from the three different forms of cerebral palsy. For example, a child may suffer from spasticity as well as involuntary movements. In addition to those, cerebral palsy often manifests with various secondary symptoms, such as feeding or swallowing issues, chronic pain, vision and hearing problems, intellectual issues including low IQs, and poor executive decision making.

With mixed CP, a child has generally sustained damage to several areas of the brain responsible for motor control. Damage to the motor complex, for example, is generally associated with causing spasticity in the muscles or tendons, while damage to the basal ganglia is associated with involuntary movements and issues with changing muscle tone. The resulting mixed cerebral palsy symptoms can vary, depending on the specific mix of locations of motor impairments.

What’s the Prognosis and Treatment Like?

The prognosis for children with mixed non-spastic cerebral palsy can vary greatly. While many children are only mildly inconvenienced by the symptoms they experience, others face years of therapies, medications, and possibly surgeries to manage and reduce the consequences of mixed cerebral palsy.

Advances in the management and treatment of cerebral palsy mean that today the life expectancy for people with mixed CP is almost the same as the general population. However, it is important to understand that children with mixed CP will likely need care and treatment for their entire lives.

Mixed cerebral palsy treatments often depend on the presence of symptoms and the extent to which they are impacting the child’s life. Although there is currently no cure for mixed CP, there are various treatments and therapies that can help minimize symptoms and maximize various functions that are impacted.

Therapy includes physical therapy, occupational therapy, behavioral therapy, speech and language therapy, as well as alternative therapies that may be helpful. Medication can also help in some cases, such as pain medication to manage chronic pain, antispastics to help manage spasticity, or anticonvulsants for seizures.

What Should You Do If You Suspect That Your Child’s Mixed CP Was Caused by Medical Malpractice?

Mixed cerebral palsy is generally caused by either abnormal brain development or injury to the brain during pregnancy or at birth. Although many cases of mixed CP cannot be prevented, it is estimated that up to 20% of all CP cases overall occur due to the negligence of one or more healthcare providers. This can be a result of many negligent actions: a missed infection, a misdiagnosis of a medical condition during pregnancy that affected the baby’s brain, or other types of brain injuries caused by malpractice. If you believe your child’s mixed CP was caused by a medical professional’s negligence, it’s important to reach out to an experienced medical malpractice attorney to seek the compensation needed to ensure proper treatment and care.

The Cerebral Palsy Family Lawyers at Janet, Janet & Suggs, LLC have consulted with over 30,000 families nationwide. Our legal and medical experience helps to uncover the truth and recover the compensation families deserve. If your child suffered from medical malpractice that led to a brain or birth injury, contact the medical malpractice lawyers at Janet, Janet & Suggs today for a free, no-obligation consultation.



Claire Surles, RN
Reviewed by:
Claire Surles, RN
Registered Nurse

Claire comes to JJS after a 10-year career as a labor and delivery nurse. She dedicated her hospital efforts to advocating for families, providing the safest birthing environment possible as Newborn Admission Nurse at UMMC St. Joseph Medical Center in Towson, Maryland. Her passion for helping those who experienced losses at any stage of gestation led to her appointment as Coordinator of the hospital’s ROOTS perinatal loss program. READ FULL BIO

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