What We Treat

Cerebral palsy is a brain disorder that affects muscle tone, movement and coordination. Cerebral refers to the brain, while palsy refers to muscle weakness.

The disorder can occur because of an injury to the brain or abnormal growth during the brain's development.  It can affect children in different ways and can involve:

  • Motor skills
  • Muscle tone
  • Muscle weakness
  • Reflexes
  • Balance

Cerebral palsy cannot be cured, but it can be managed to prevent complications and make the most of the child's capability at home, in the community and in the future.

Services We Offer

Comprehensive care

Children with cerebral palsy need an interdisciplinary approach, and our team of pediatric specialists work together to provide comprehensive, ongoing care. Our team includes:

Nonsurgical options

Management of cerebral palsy can include surgery and nonsurgical approaches. Nonsurgical options include:

  • Medicines to decrease muscle stiffness
  • Physical, occupational or speech therapy
  • Orthotics (splints or braces)
  • Evaluation by specialists in orthopaedics, neurosurgery or ophthalmology

Surgical treatments

Surgical treatments that may help decrease your child’s muscle stiffness and improve his functioning include:

  • Muscle or tendon lengthening: Your child's doctor will lengthen the large muscles or tendons in the back of the leg or hip, or sometimes the muscles of the arm or hand.
  • Selective dorsal rhizotomy (SDR): Your child's doctor will cut some of the roots of nerves as they leave the spine. This helps stop the nerves from forcing the muscles to be rigid or tight.
  • Intrathecal baclofen: Your child's doctor will implant a pump and catheter to give special medicine to his spine. The medicine can help reduce spasticity.
  • Botulinum toxin (botox) and phenol treatment: Your child's doctor will inject botox (a type of protein) or phenol (an anesthetic) into the muscles. These can help loosen large muscle groups.
  • Bone, joint and spine surgery: A surgeon may need to adjust the bones, joints or spine to improve how those parts of the body move or function.

Medical professionals

Cerebral palsy patient treatment and management requires a multidisciplinary approach including neurology, neurosurgery, orthopaedics, physiatry, and hand and upper extremity. Children's offers tools and services for medical professionals to help provide care for their patients with cerebral palsy.

Learn more about our orthopaedic resources for medical professionals

Learn more about our neurosciences resources for medical professionals

Our Unique Approach

About half of people with cerebral palsy need braces, walkers or wheelchairs. Children's has a seating and mobility clinic and the only on-site, hospital-based pediatric orthotics and prosthetics practice in Georgia.

Having all of these services in our system allows us to provide more thorough visits with multiple specialties. This multidisciplinary approach can help streamline care and reduce the number of appointments your child must have.

Specialized services include:

  • Motion analysis: Using advanced technology, specialists can identify important muscle activity and movement to help develop a treatment plan.
  • Orthotics and prosthetics: Certified orthotists can evaluate, cast, fabricate and fit orthoses for your child's specific needs.
  • Assistive technology: Our therapists can help find the right kinds of assistive technology and teach your child how to use it.
  • Seating and mobility: By evaluating mobility equipment and your child's needs, our therapists can determine what works best.
  • Driver rehabilitation: Our certified specialist assesses a teen's ability to safely learn how to drive or return to driving.

Learn more about our rehabilitation programs

Center for Advanced Technology and Robotic Rehabilitation

The center offers therapy for children and teens with motor-skills impairment due to a wide range of injuries or illnesses.

Family support services

Children's offers a private Facebook group where our cerebral palsy families can better communicate with each other—and us. These groups have become lively forums for asking questions, sharing tips and celebrating milestones with one another. 

Learn more about our private Facebook group

Join us for the Cerebral Palsy Patient Family Conference - A Multidisciplinary Approach. Patient families are invited to join us for a day of education and support for children with cerebral palsy. During the conference, families will hear from our pediatric providers about our multidisciplinary care approach, learn about the various management options and meet other patient families living with cerebral palsy.

Attend the Cerebral Palsy Patient Family Conference