Types of cerebral palsy?

Cerebral palsy can be described by the way it affects people’s movement, the part of the body affected and by how severe the affects are.

Spastic (70-80%)

The most common form of CP characterised by muscles that feel stiff and tight

Dyskenetic (6%)

Characterised by involuntary movements out of a person's control

Ataxic (6%)

Characterised by shaky movements, affects balance and sense of positioning in space

Mixed: a combination of types

Parts of the body affected



(a form of bilateral CP)
Both arms and legs are affected. The muscles of the trunk, face and mouth are often also affected.


(a form of bilateral CP)
Both legs are affected. The arms may be affected to a lesser extent.


(a form of unilateral CP)
One side of the body (one arm and one leg) is affected.


The following systems are used to identify the level to which a person is affected by cerebral palsy


  1. Cans, C., Dolk, H., Platt, M. J., Colver, A., Prasauskiene, A., & Krageloh-Mann, I. (2007). Recommendations from the SCPE collaborative group for defining and classifying cerebral palsy. Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology, 49(Suppl 1), 9-24.
  2. Krageloh-Mann, I., & Cans, C. (2009). Cerebral palsy update. Brain Development, 31(7), 537-544. doi: 10.1016/j.braindev.2009.03.009 See abstract
  3. McIntyre, S., Morgan, C., Walker, K., & Novak, I. (2011). Cerebral palsy–don’t delay. Developmental Disability Research Reviews, 17(2), 114-129. doi: 10.1002/ddrr.1106 See abstract
  4. Paneth, N. (2008). Establishing the diagnosis of cerebral palsy. Clinical Obstetrics and Gynecology, 51(4), 742-748. doi: 10.1097/GRF.0b013e318187081a See abstract