Rehabilitation Psychology

What is Rehabilitation Psychology?

Seattle Children’s Rehabilitation Psychology program helps young people who have problems with learning, emotions or behavior due to an injury or medical illness. Our aim is to help your child live a fuller life.

We work with babies to young adults and their families. If your child is seen by a rehabilitation medicine provider for their medical illness or injury, ask their provider to refer you. If you have a referral, call 206-987-2219 for an appointment.

Why choose Seattle Children’s Rehabilitation Psychology program?

Seattle Children’s is a national leader in rehabilitation for children. Our team is part of the Rehabilitation Medicine program.

  • The experts you need are here
    • Our  have special training to assess and treat children with disabilities and health conditions to help them overcome emotional, cognitive, social and/or functional challenges to improve their quality of life and participation in daily activities.
    • People with such training and experience are found mostly at academic medical centers like Seattle Children’s.
    • Our rehabilitation psychologists work closely with experts in other fields to give your child and family the best care. These include NeurosciencesPsychiatry and Rehabilitation Medicine.
  • Treatment tailored to your child

    Our providers use evidence-based health and behavioral interventions to address psychological or behavioral factors that can influence a child's medical condition or recovery course. We primarily use cognitive-behavioral and behavioral interventions tailored to meet the individual needs of your child and family.

Conditions We Treat

We assess and treat cognitive, psychological, behavioral and emotional problems caused by an illness or injury. We do not see children who only have developmental learning or behavior disorders, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or learning disabilities.

  • Autoimmune disorders

    The body’s immune system usually defends against illness. But sometimes the immune system mistakenly attacks healthy cells and tissues. This may cause conditions that affect a child’s brain. Read about Seattle Children’s Inflammatory Brain Disorders Clinic.

  • Traumatic brain injury and concussion

    Many children we see have had a traumatic brain injury or concussion. A severe head injury can harm the brain. Our team will check your child’s language and thinking skills. We recommend ways to help them recover as much function as possible and plan for their return to school and their community.

  • Hypoxic/anoxic brain injuries

    Cells in the brain need oxygen to survive. Brain injuries can happen when the brain does not get enough oxygen (hypoxic) or no oxygen at all (anoxic). A near-drowning event is 1 way this happens.

  • Brain tumors

    Brain tumors are growths of cells in the skull that are not normal. Many types of brain tumors affect children. Some are cancer (malignant), while others are not (benign). Read more.

  • Cerebral palsy

    Cerebral palsy (CP) is a general term for permanent differences in how a person moves and controls their muscles. The differences are caused by an injury to a child’s brain as it develops. The brain injury can happen before, during or after birth. CP affects a child’s strength, muscle tone and motor control

  • Chronic neuromuscular illnesses

    Neuromuscular illnesses affect the nerves and muscles. They often cause muscle weakness and may lead to problems with muscle control. For instance, muscular dystrophy (MD) is a group of diseases that cause muscles to weaken over time. MD sometimes affects the heart, eyes, brain and other organs.

  • Multiple sclerosis

    Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a long-lasting disease caused by damage to the protective coating on nerve fibers in the brain and spinal cord. It can cause problems with your child’s vision, balance, muscle control, speech and other functions of the body.

  • Neurological infections

    Sometimes disease-causing viruses or bacteria invade the central nervous system (CNS) and cause infections. The CNS includes the brain and spinal cord. It controls the body’s activities.

    Encephalitis, meningitis and HIV are the most common types.

  • Stroke

    A stroke can happen in 2 ways. Sometimes, the blood supply to part of the brain is cut off. In other cases, a blood vessel in the brain bursts and bleeds into the spaces around brain cells. Either way, brain cells do not get the oxygen and nutrients they need to survive.

    Strokes can cause:

    • Loss of muscle use in parts of the body (paralysis)
    • Problems with memory, learning and thinking

Services We Offer

We provide services for children who are staying in our hospital (inpatient) and those who visit our clinic (outpatient).

  • Behavioral health consultations and therapy

    Our team provides inpatient and outpatient behavioral health consultations and therapy for patients with an acquired brain injury, neuromuscular disorders, spinal cord injuries, cerebral palsy and other acute or chronic medical conditions.

  • Rehabilitation Medicine Follow-Up Clinic

    After a hospital stay related to conditions such as brain injury, spinal cord injury or stroke, your child may benefit from our Rehabilitation Medicine Follow-Up Clinic to help them cope with symptoms or adjust to their functional changes. We can also recommend ways to deal with emotional or behavior issues your child may have as they adjust to their illness or injury.

Scheduling an Appointment With Rehabilitation Psychology

  • If your child needs rehabilitation psychology services for a medical illness or injury, ask their rehabilitation medicine provider to refer you.
  • We accept referrals from rehabilitation medicine providers at Seattle Children’s.
  • If you already have a referral, call 206-987-2219 to schedule an appointment.
  • Learn about Rehabilitation Psychology resources, such as useful links, videos and recommended reading for you and your family.

Participate in Research

You can help us answer questions about childhood health and illness and help other children in the future. Learn more about clinical trials and research studies at Seattle Children’s.

Contact Us

For more information, contact Rehabilitation Psychology at 206-987-2219. If your child is being seen by a rehabilitation medicine provider for their medical illness or injury and you would like a rehabilitation psychology appointment, please ask their provider to refer you.

Telemedicine at Seattle Children’s

You may be offered a telehealth (virtual) appointment. Learn more.

Paying for Care

Learn about paying for care at Seattle Children’s, including insurance coverage, billing and financial assistance.

For Healthcare Professionals