- Kids Health
Ataxic Cerebral Palsy
Ataxic cerebral palsy
Cerebral palsy is the consequence of experiencing damage to the brain, usually during the process of carrying a baby, delivering a baby, or immediate after care. There are times when it can happen a little later than that; but that is the exception and not the way it normally happens. So with ataxic cerebral palsy, that is the case as well, which is the most rare of all cerebral palsy symptoms, representing between five to ten percent of all victims.
Tthere are different symptoms of cerebral palsy, depending on the area of brain the damage occurs in. For ataxic cerebral palsy, the damage is in the base of stem of the brain, which is the area that controls a person's balance and coordination.
Unless a person has mixed cerebral palsy, which is a combination of more than one group of symptoms of cerebral palsy, or more than one part of the brain being damaged, a person with ataxic cerebral palsy will battle primarily with issues of balance and coordination.
Child with ataxic cerebral palsy
Symptoms of ataxic cerebral palsy
The outward symptoms of ataxic cerbral palsy are usually shaking while walking. You've probably seen this with people with cerebral palsy as they struggle down the sidewalk or wherever they're walking.
Another symtom is there will be a significant shaking when a person attempts to grab or do something very specific, like buttoning a shirt or trying to pick up a spoon.
Ataxic cerebral palsy is hypotonic
All hypotonic means is that someone with ataxic cerebral palsy has low muscle tone.
So when we talked about someone being very shaky when they're walking, that means that the body battles to try to counter-balance the low muscle tone, which is seen through the shaky movements as the person attempts to walk.
Ataxic cerebral palsy affects all four limbs
Similar to spastic diplegia cerabral palsy, ataxic cerebral palsy affects the arms and the legs of the person with it. The trunk of the body will also suffer from loss of of muscle tone as well.
Again, all of this is the result of the specific place where the brain is damaged: the base.
Treatments for ataxic cerebral palsy
For those with ataxic cerebral palsy, there is hope, as there are several treatments available which will help reduce the effects of the weak muscle tone, and help people with the disorder function far better than they would have not that long ago.
You can make it in the midst of ataxic cerebral palsy
As I've mentioned in some of my other articles on cerebral palsy, I have an adult son who has mixed cerebral palsy (more than one set of symptoms), and going through life with it isn't a death sentence for them or for the family or parents.
Of course there are challenges, but they can be met if you don't feel guilty about taking some occasional time off, be willing to sacrifice to make things work, and have a support group around you of some type to help you along the way.