Athetoid Cerebral Palsy

Athetoid cerebral palsy, also known as dyskenetic cerebral palsy affects approximately 15 percent of people with cerebral palsy. Athetoid cerebral palsy is most commonly caused by an injury to a portion of the midbrain called the basal ganglia. This area of the brain is responsible for among other things, coordination and body posture. Damage to this area may cause a child to develop unintentional movements, especially in the arms, face and trunk. These unintentional movements frequently interfere with skills that require coordinated movements. The main cause for these troubles is the muscles alternating between relaxed and tense state. Symptoms frequently disappear entirely during sleep.

The treatment of athetoid cerebral palsy differs depending on the severity of symptoms. Physical therapy is essential and should be started early.  Daily range of motion exercises will help prevent muscle atrophy.  For those suffering from dysarthia (Speech is often altered in individuals with athetoid CP because of difficulty breathing and controlling the tongue and vocal chords), speech therapy is often recommended..

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