Cerebral palsy (CP) is the term for a range of permanent movement difficulties caused by a non-progressive injury to the immature brain. It is the most common cause of physical impairment in children. In addition, individuals with CP may also have epilepsy and difficulties of cognition, communication, feeding, vision and hearing, as well as secondary musculoskeletal problems1.

The overall prevalence of CP is around 2 per 1000 live births.

1(2007), A report: the definition and classification of cerebral palsy April 2006. Developmental Medicine & Child Neurology, 49: 8–14. doi:10.1111/j.1469-8749.2007.tb12610.x


SCPE classification of CP subtypes based on neurological findings


Neurological features by subtype:

SPASTIC CP Bilateral spastic

Unilateral spastic

Increased tone

Pathological reflexes

  • increased reflexes, e.g. hyperreflexia
  • pyramidal signs, e.g. Babinski response
resulting in abnormal pattern of movement and posture

Involuntary, uncontrolled recurring, occasionally stereotyped movements, primitive reflex patterns predominate, muscle tone is varying
ATAXIC CP   Loss of orderly muscular coordination, so that movements are performed with abnormal force, rhythm and accuracy

All the CP subtypes listed have in common an abnormal pattern of movement and posture.


For more information on CP subtypes please refer to the manual:

Go to the Reference and Training Manual