Cerebral Palsy Program
What is the Cerebral Palsy Program?
Seattle Children’s takes an active approach to caring for children with cerebral palsy (CP) so they can be as healthy and functional as possible. The Cerebral Palsy Program offers a full range of nonsurgical and surgical treatment options. Our program includes experts in every field your child might need, working together on a personalized care plan for your child.
If your child is new to Seattle Children’s
If your child is new to Seattle Children’s, our team will ensure your child is assigned to a dedicated team of providers who will create an individualized plan, combining treatments and carefully timing them to get the best results.
If your child is new to the CP Program
If your child is receiving care for CP at Seattle Children’s and is new to the CP Program, they will continue to see their current team of providers for treatment and care, and they may have additional services added to their individualized plan.
Learn more about our free monthly Cerebral Palsy caregiver gatherings the 3rd Monday of the month from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.
What’s special about Seattle Children’s Cerebral Palsy Program?
Every child with CP is different. We follow best available evidence and established guidelines. We customize care to help your child and family manage CP. Our aim is to give your child the best possible function and quality of life now and as they grow.
To create a tailored treatment plan for your child, our team of experts work together to coordinate all aspects of your child’s care. Our teams offer a full range of treatments, including therapies, bracing (orthotics), medical management and surgery.
Experts from across Seattle Children’s work together to make sure your child receives complete, coordinated care. Depending on your child’s needs, your team may include a range of providers, surgeons and therapists from multiple specialties and programs.
- Providers in our Neurodevelopmental, Neurology and Rehabilitation Medicine clinics help manage CP and other conditions often associated with the development of the nervous system, including the brain. In the future, when you have questions or need guidance, you can reach out to the following medical teams based on your child's specific needs:
- The Ortho Rehab Clinic features a team of orthopedic surgeons and rehabilitation medicine physicians specially trained to treat children’s muscles, bones and joints with a goal of improving function.
- Our Tone Management Program evaluates and treats children and teens who might benefit from therapy, medicines, surgery or other options to address muscle tone differences. This includes both baclofen pump placement and selective dorsal rhizotomy.
- We provide specialized brain-focused care for newborns with neurological conditions in our Neonatal Neurocritical Care Unit (Neuro NICU). This includes newborns who are critically ill due to low muscle tone related to CP.
- When needed, we offer support services, including Neuropsychology, Occupational Therapy, Orthotics and Prosthetics, Physical Therapy and Speech and Language Services.
We offer several groups at Seattle Children’s to support families and caregivers of children with CP and other special health and developmental needs. In addition, our Program Manager is available to address questions, concerns and other needs.
For a complete list of those support groups, please visit our patient and family resources.
Our team actively conducts research to learn more about interventions related to CP. A few examples of our research efforts include:
- Bjornson Lab: Research focused on spastic or hypertonic CP, which affects the coordination and control of motor function of more than 7 out of 10 children with CP.
- Center for Child Health, Behavior and Development: Research focused on interventions to optimize walking, mobility and upper extremity function.
- University of Washington Doctor of Physical Therapy Pediatric Research: Research related to the development of interventions for CP, specifically focused on walking (gait).
- University of Washington Steele Lab: Research focused on understanding how people move to improve their quality of life and ability to perform daily activities.
Services We Provide
Once your child is diagnosed with CP, your child’s provider will need to refer your child to the Cerebral Palsy Program at Seattle Children’s. Staff members at Seattle Children’s will use the best available evidence and established guidelines to schedule your child for the right services at the right time. You will complete an intake form so our providers can tailor their approach to your child’s specific needs.
Children who are new to the hospital or just received a diagnosis of CP may be eligible for the CP Program's New Patient Clinic, a one-time visit that allows both the Neurodevelopmental and Rehabilitation Medicine teams to evaluate your child and determine the best care plan with your goals in mind. If your child is eligible for this clinic, someone from the scheduling team will contact you to make the appointment.
Once enrolled in the program, you will continue to regularly see medical providers, surgeons and other team members, like therapists and orthotists. It is very important that you continue to follow up with all your child’s providers to ensure your child is getting the right treatments at the right time. Your providers will contribute to your child’s specific care plan, a document that outlines your child’s medical and surgical history, your goals and the steps to reach those goals.
Learn about Cerebral Palsy Program resources such as useful links, videos and recommended reading for you and your family.
Participate in our free monthly Cerebral Palsy caregiver gatherings (PDF) the 3rd Monday of the month from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.
Scheduling an Appointment With the Cerebral Palsy Program
- How to schedule an appointment at Seattle Children’s.
- If you already have an appointment, learn more about how to prepare.
Contact the Cerebral Palsy Program at 206-987-0199 for questions or more information. If your child has a diagnosis of CP and you would like to be enrolled in the program, please have your child’s medical provider send a referral to the Cerebral Palsy Program at Seattle Children’s. Please ensure your provider specifically states in the referral that it is for the Cerebral Palsy Program.
Providers, see how to refer a patient.