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Pediatric Cerebral Palsy Program

The Pediatric Cerebral Palsy Program at Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital specializes in the treatment of children with cerebral palsy. Our comprehensive services promote the optimal achievement of functional independence in mobility, self-care, and communication. Therapists also provide instruction to caregivers on techniques and activities that support therapy goals.

Pediatric Cerebral Palsy Services

  • Physician evaluation and follow-up
  • Advanced Management of Pediatric Spasticity
  • Pediatric rehabilitation for Cerebral Palsy patient at Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital.

    Nursing services/care coordination
  • Motion Analysis Center (computerized gait analysis)
  • Physical therapy evaluation and treatment
  • Occupational therapy evaluation and treatment
  • Speech/language therapy evaluation and treatment
  • Video-swallow study and feeding treatment
  • Coordination with orthotics
  • Augmentative communication evaluation and training
  • Evaluation for customized wheelchairs
  • Evaluation for assistive technology
  • Neuromuscular re-education/biofeedback evaluation and treatment
  • Home evaluations
  • Job site evaluations
  • Driver rehabilitation
  • Community recreation programs

At Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital, children with cerebral palsy are treated by a multidisciplinary team of specialists.

Medical specialists provide assessments and ongoing management to address orthopedic concerns, spasticity, and functional goals.  

Physician evaluations may be provided by a specialist in:

  • Pediatric physical medicine and rehabilitation
  • Adult physical medicine and rehabilitation
  • Orthopedic specialists 
  • Neurodevelopmental pediatrics
  • Neurology

Outpatient therapy helps children with cerebral palsy to:

  • Move
  • Manage sensory and perceptual difficulties
  • Improve activities of daily living such as eating, dressing, bathing, and homemaking skills
  • Improve communication

Therapists instruct caregivers on positioning, stretching, proper handling/transfer techniques, and activities that support therapy goals. To be seen, a patient must first be evaluated by a physician who writes a prescription.

Physical therapy includes assessment and treatment in:

  • Range of motion of the trunk and lower extremities
  • Gross motor skills and coordination 
  • Mobility in the home and in the community
  • Muscle weakness or tightness 
  • Adaptive devices and equipment needs

Physical therapy focuses on functional goals and mobility by improving range of motion, flexibility and strength, and promotes healthy patterns of movement.

Occupational therapy includes assessment and treatment in:

  • Range of motion of the upper extremities
  • Fine motor skills and coordination
  • Dressing, eating, and bathing
  • Muscle weakness or tightness
  • Sensory dysfunction
  • Visual perceptual motor skills
  • Adaptive devices and equipment needs

Occupational therapy focuses on functional goals and self care by improving range of motion, flexibility and strength, and promotes healthy patterns of movement.

Speech therapy includes assessment and treatment of:

  • Oral motor skills
  • Expression-both verbal and graphic
  • Articulation
  • Language
  • Feeding
  • Communication (both verbal and gestures)
  • Voice/fluency
  • Behavior/cognition

Speech therapy helps improve the ability to communicate. Those who have difficulty speaking may learn to use an augmentative communication device, such as a picture board or a language based computer. Some have difficulty with swallowing and benefit from feeding therapy. This may include a videofluoroscopic swallow study to assure that food is being swallowed safely.


Family and Caregiver Education

Family involvement is a key component of our Pediatric Cerebral Palsy Program. We educate parents and caregivers on positioning, stretching, proper handling/transfer techniques and activities that support therapy goals.  We provide training and support to ensure that treatment is able to continue at home and in other settings. We coordinate care with school therapists and other community providers to ensure success in achievement of goals and to reduce duplication.

Coordination with Orthotics

Many people with cerebral palsy benefit from serial casting, splinting, braces or orthoses. These services may be provided by our therapists or Mary Free Bed Orthotics.  We also work closely with community based orthotists.

Coordination with Mary Free Bed Rehab Technology Center

Many people with cerebral palsy benefit from specialized equipment including customized wheelchairs and home environmental controls from Mary Free Bed's Rehab Technology Center.

Advanced Management of Pediatric Spasticity Program

Some children with cerebral palsy have severe problems with spasticity, which may be improved with selective dorsal rhizotomy, intrathecal baclofen, or complex Botox treatments with serial casting to release tight muscles in the AMPS Program at Mary Free Bed. Multi-level orthopedic surgery may be recommended to address the complications caused by untreated spasticity.

A gait assessment by the Motion Analysis Center assists physicians in the management and treatment of problems with walking.

Cerebral Palsy Research Study Opportunity

Origins, Wellness, & Life-History in CP (OWL) is conducting a research study of children ages 2-15, with and without, cerebral palsy. OWL scientists hope to understand more about very early brain damage that causes CP and how it could be prevented. For more information about the study and how you can participate, visit The Cerebral Palsy Outreach Network's website.

Contact the Pediatric Cerebral Palsy Program

For more information about pediatric cerebral palsy or to make a referral to Mary Free Bed's Pediatric Cerebral Palsy Program, please contact the Cerebral Palsy Program:

PHONE 
616.242.0366 or 800.668.6001

FAX PRESCRIPTIONS 
616.493.9827

EMAIL 
peds.outpatient@maryfreebed.com

DOWNLOAD
Outpatient Referral Form

For physician assessment: fax referral, face sheet with demographics, recent history and physical or reason for referral, and radiology reports.

For therapy: fax prescription, face sheet with demographics, and reason for referral. Please specify type of therapy requested - PT, OT, or speech therapy.

Pediatric Cerebral Palsy Patient Stories

Born with cerebral palsy, 12-year-old Mary's hamstrings were pulling so tight that she was losing the ability to walk, even with crutches. Read Mary's story...

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