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Spastic Diplegia Cerebral Palsy

Updated on October 26, 2015

Spastic Diplegia

When talking about spastic dipegia cerebral palsy, it's important to differentiate between spastic diplegia which is inherited and not properly cerebral palsy, and the kind of spastic diplegia which is a type of cerebral palsy.

The major difference between the two is when the symptoms begin to emerge. In someone that has inherited spastic diplegia, symptoms don't come till in many cases middle age, although in some cases symptoms start to come in the latter part of childhood.

As for spastic diplegia cerebral palsy, it for the most part comes from identifiable problems connected to the birthing process; including carrying the baby, delivering the baby and immediately after birth. There are exceptions, but that's when the majority of the problems occur. 

Symtoms of spastic diplegia cerebral palsy

While the arms and legs can both be affected by spastic diplegia cerebral palsy, the legs are by far affected more than the arms.

Usually you can identify these symptoms by tightness or stiffness in the legs, where the muscles contract and weakness occurs. In my son we couldn't identify his problem until he was about a year old, where we waited to see if he received brain damage from being born three months prematurely.

He did live, but he went down to 1 lb. 8 oz before he started to gain weight. He was born at 2 lb. 6 oz. He does have cerebral palsy, and spasticity is a big part of the diagnoses and suffering he goes through. 

Photo of young boy with spastic diplegia cerebral palsy

Spastic or tightness in the legs

Like mentioned earlier, the major symptom connected to spastic diplegia victims is the tightness in the legs. Other terms to describe it could be stiffness or contraction, which is referring to the muscles.

Some people are able to learn to walk even with the weak legs, although it's difficult to do for them.

Normally they battle the inclination for the knees to cross one another or push in toward one another when walking. 

Spastic diplegia cerebral palsy and mental retardation

While my son didn't have to endure mental retardation as part of the spastic diplegia he has (he actually has mixed cerebral palsy), many people do, and of course that makes it even harder to deal with by families. 

Spastic Diplegia Cerebral Palsy Treatments

Among those suffering from all types of cerebal palsy, about 80 percent will have spasticity as part of the symptoms of the disorder.

I do want to stop a minute and say that technically cerebral palsy of any type isn't a disease, but actually more of an accident happening at birth related to oxygen and the brain.

In the case of our son, his lungs were so small that his chances of survival were minimal without allowing the use of oxygen, so we had to make the decision on whether to let him take his chances without it, or give him a chance to live; but with the possibility of brain damage of some sort. It wasn't an easy decision to make, but we chose to give him a chance to live with the oxygen, and he did end up with cerebral palsy. But he can communicate like anybody, has no mental retardation, and has a great heart and spirit.

Some of the treatments involved include surgery, physical therapy, some type of drug treatment, or a combination of the three.   

Emotional Challenges

Both the parents and family of victims of cerebral palsy in general, and spastic diplegia cerebral palsy in particular, go through emotional roller coasters, assuming the child with cerebral palsy isn't retarded (I mean where the child understands what's happening and going on.).

The secret to long life and happiness for everyone involved is to keep a good attitude and live life as normally as you can. Activities are important, as well as friends, family, and a support system of some type.

All of us can survive spastic diplegia cerebral palsy, but it does take commitment and sacrifice by everyone involved, and occasional holidays from the grind that can wear even the strongest person down. 


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    • Ability Michele profile image

      Karen Allen 2 years ago from Prince George's County Maryland

      Good evening,

      I also have Spastic Diplegia Cerebral Palsy. I am now in my 40's but was diagnosed in my 20's although I was diagnosed with Myasthenia Gravis when I was one year old. I have similar symptons as your son. I appreciate your candor and honestly about the disease. I however don't view myself a victim but someone who was chosen by God (knowing He was not the author of the disease) to be used in mighty ways to help be a light not only to the diseases I have but to be a witness to His glory and to encourage and uplift others. God is amazing that my brain also was unaffected but either disease.

      Thank you again for the wonderful words and stay encouraged because I believe your son has amazing things in store for him. Just be his safe haven and continue to tell him he can live without limitations - those he puts on himself and those that others try to place upon him.

      Take care and God bless you and your family!

    • profile image

      tricia 7 years ago

      its not inherited my son was born premature

    • Cari Jean profile image

      Cari Jean 7 years ago from Bismarck, ND

      My daughter receives botox treatments to relieve her tight nuscles in her legs. Just curious about your opinion on this.