Types of cerebral palsy

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.
quadriplegia cerebral palsy icon


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


(a form of bilateral cerebral palsy)
Both legs are affected. The arms may be affected to a lesser extent.
hemiplegia cerebral palsy icon


(a form of unilateral cerebral palsy)
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
spastic cerebral palsy icon

Spastic (70-80%)

The most common form of cerebral palsy characterised by muscles that feel stiff and tight
dyskinetic cerebral palsy icon

Dyskenetic (6%)

Characterised by involuntary movements out of a person's control
ataxic cerebral palsy icon

Ataxic (6%)

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

Mixed: a combination of types


  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