The Spinal Cord Injury Program at Children’s brings together a team of rehabilitation specialists to care for children and teens with spinal cord injuries and diseases and to educate parents on how to best provide care, support and assistance. Our program includes board-certified pediatric physiatrists who develop personalized treatment plans to help patients achieve maximum function and independence, as well as physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech-language pathologists and audiologists. Together, they provide multidisciplinary care in a 28-bed facility, one of the largest inpatient rehabilitation facilities in the country.

We offer a wide variety of treatments and support services, including:

This service includes enhanced communication options, advanced computer access, and seating and mobility. Assistive technology can provide children and teens the opportunity to enjoy a variety of activities and gain independence using devices such as adaptive video game controllers, sports equipment, toys, fishing poles and more.

This program will help you determine whether your teen is ready to drive after an injury or illness.

How will you assess my teen’s readiness to drive?

We will evaluate your teen’s health and driving knowledge by:

  • Talking to your teen about their injury or illness
  • Taking physical and vision tests
  • Testing how much your teen knows about road signs and safety laws

If we determine your teen is ready to take a driving test:

  • We use an adaptive car for testing and training
  • We offer training and testing in the driving simulator or on the road in the adaptive car

You, your teen and your teen’s doctor will receive a written report upon completion of the program. The doctor will then decide if your teen is ready to drive.

How can your teen take part?

To attend, your teen must:

  • Be between the ages of 15 and 21
  • Have a current driver’s license or learner’s permit
  • Have a prescription for testing and training
  • Meet state rules for vision and seizure-free time
  • Have a parent or guardian present

Your teen must bring or show proof of all the above at the appointment.

Call 404-785-3300 to make an appointment. The appointment may take up to three hours.

Our pediatric-trained therapists and orthopedic hand surgeons provide a wide range of treatment options and continuous care to make it easier for our patients to use their shoulders, arms, forearms, wrists and hands.

Music therapy uses musical activity—creating, singing, playing or listening to music—to strengthen the physical, emotional, cognitive and social abilities of patients as part of the healing process.

Music therapy at Children’s helps patients:

  • Manage pain
  • Express emotions
  • Improve thinking, attention, alertness, memory, and vocal and verbal expression
  • Develop social skills and relate to others
  • Improve movement and physical strength
  • Develop the ability to speak and communicate
  • Relieve stress through relaxation
  • Decrease pain or anxiety during medical procedures

Our music therapists observe the way your child participates in activities to learn about their musical preferences, interest level and history. Your child’s therapist will use this information to develop a customized music therapy plan, which may involve treatment individually, in peer groups, with the family or in other therapy sessions. During therapy, your child might play musical instruments, sing or hum, listen, move or exercise to music. They may also write or compose music or work with multimedia music resources.

Our Center for Advanced Technology and Robotic Rehabilitation offers a wide range of advanced technologies as part of the overall treatment strategy for children and teens with motor-skills impairment. Technology-assisted therapies:

  • Help children perform more repetitions and practice skills they may not be able to perform otherwise
  • Allow our therapists to use computers and sensor controls to direct and pace a child’s movement
  • Promote communication between the brain and muscles
  • Promote motor learning by tracking a child’s response and providing biofeedback

Children’s is often among the first hospitals to offer our patients emerging technologies. We were the first pediatric hospital in the county to offer the Ekso Robotic Exoskeleton, an exoskeletal-assisted walking device that uses electronic motors and sensors to help children stand and walk more easily.

Children’s therapeutic recreation will not only help your child resume the activities they enjoyed before hospitalization, but will also introduce them to new activities. Playing in this way can be a profoundly healing experience. Our therapists use a variety of methods and activities to keep children and teens involved and engaged in their recovery:

  • Individual treatment sessions give patients one-on-one interactions that improve their strength and endurance through active, healthy leisure choices.
  • Group treatment sessions encourage social interaction among peers.
  • Community outings offer patients, families and caregivers the opportunity to visit a variety of locations in the community. Therapists coordinate these outings to match the specific needs of each patient. They help patients discover their abilities, improve their functional independence and learn new skills that will prepare them to return to school and other activities. A recreation therapist, pediatric rehabilitation nurse and other members of the therapy team participate in these outings to answer questions, provide assistance, and help make sure caregivers feel comfortable in the community before their children are discharged from the hospital. These outings also allow patients and families the opportunity to practice all they have learned during rehabilitation and prepare for returning home.
  • Therapeutic play allows patients to adjust to their surroundings and have fun as they participate in inpatient rehabilitation.
  • Assistive technology allows children and teens to enjoy a variety of activities and gain independence using devices, such as adaptive video game controllers, sports equipment, fishing poles, toys, switch-operated digital cameras and bowling ramps.

The Ventilator Program is designed for children and teens who have sustained injuries or illnesses that affect their breathing ability. Our multidisciplinary team works closely with you to help wean your child off the ventilator when possible. If your child must remain on the ventilator, the team will help prepare you and your child for a smooth transition home.


Our care team’s primary objectives are to:

  • Wean your child from the ventilator as much as possible, and offer assistance and support to you and your child throughout the process
  • Improve your child’s respiratory muscle strength through nutritional support and therapy
  • Encourage speech and oral feeding, when appropriate

Multidisciplinary approach

The Ventilator Program team collaborates with professionals in many specialized services at Children’s to make your child’s breathing as easy as possible. These include:

  • Pediatric pulmonary medicine
  • Pediatric respiratory therapy
  • Pediatric rehabilitation medicine
  • Case management
  • Child and adolescent life program
  • Clinical social work
  • Music therapy
  • Occupational therapy
  • Pastoral therapy
  • Recreation therapy
  • Rehabilitation nursing
  • Speech-language pathology
  • School program
  • Physical therapy
  • Neuropsychology
  • Clinical nutrition

Through the Peer Mentorship Program, patients that have overcome spinal cord injury or disease can provide support and guidance to another young patient and their family as their healthcare journey is about to begin.

Who can become a peer mentor?

  • Survivors of a spinal cord injury or disease
  • A caregiver of a child with spinal cord injury or disease
  • Kids who are at least one year post-inpatient rehabilitation or discharge
  • Reliable, dependable, trustworthy, knowledgeable, active and resourceful, with strong listening skills
  • Able to visit the inpatient rehabilitation unit and Children’s Day Rehabilitation Program, as well as connect with patients by phone or social media
  • Willing to answer questions about the impact of spinal cord injury or disease on you, including healthy living habits, living in the community and finding transportation accommodations
  • Eager to provide hope, encouragement and life skills to others with a spinal cord injury or disease
  • Available to participate in on-site training with our day rehabilitation staff by special request

Are you interested in becoming a peer mentor?

We are looking for individuals who would like to partner with the Children’s rehabilitation team to become a peer mentor to a child who has a spinal cord injury or disease. You will visit and mentor children while they are in the hospital and participating in day rehabilitation.

For more information or to be considered as a peer mentor, call 404-785-2274.