Cerebral Palsy

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At Le Bonheur Children’s, we’ve built a comprehensive program around the needs of children with cerebral palsy (CP) and related movement disorders.

CP is a group of disorders of movement and posture development, causing activity limitation and attributed to non-progressive disturbances that occurred in the developing fetal or infant brain. The motor disorders of cerebral palsy are often accompanied by disturbances of sensation, cognition, communication, perception and/or behavior, and/or by seizure (International Consensus Definition of Cerebral Palsy).

CP affects two to three in every 1,000 children. Terms such as “diplegia,” “hemiplegia” or “quadriplegia” are often used to describe the part of the body affected. The muscle tone and movement disorders associated with CP can be characterized as “spastic,” “dyskinetic” or “ataxic.”

Why choose Le Bonheur?

  • As the only multidisciplinary center in the region that provides comprehensive care to children with cerebral palsy (CP), we are dedicated to improving functional outcomes of children affected by CP and other movement disorders. Our treatment plans are individualized to meet each child’s specific needs and goals.
  • Our team is led by a board-certified neurologist with expertise in CP and related movement disorders.
  • Members of our team include a physiatrist, physical therapists, orthopedic surgeons and orthotic and seating/ mobility experts. In addition, we collaborate closely with other providers involved in the child’s care to maximize appropriate community functioning (e.g., pediatricians, developmental pediatricians, neurosurgeons, educators and other therapists).
  • We offer home visits to assess any need for specific equipment or accessibility concerns at home as well.

Who do we treat?

  • Any child or young adult up to the age of 21 with a diagnosis of cerebral palsy
  • A child who has difficulty walking or delay in motor skills
  • A child who has been suspected to have cerebral palsy but has not been currently diagnosed as such
  • A child at risk for cerebral palsy due to factors such as prematurity or lack of oxygen at birth
  • A child diagnosed with a movement disorder (e.g., dystonia)

Treatment Options

We provide comprehensive, individualized and evidence-based treatment, which may include any or all of the following:

  • Medications for tone reduction (including Baclofen, Botox injections, etc.)
  • Treatment for associated conditions such as seizures, sleep disturbances, feeding difficulties and behavioral concerns
  • Physical therapy recommendations, including bracing and equipment
  • Orthopedic surgeries for tendon contractures, foot deformities, spinal abnormalities and hip dysplasia and neurosurgical procedures such as selective dorsal rhizotomy

Additional Tests/Evaluations

When necessary, we request additional diagnostic tests/evaluations to help refine treatment. Additional procedures may include:

What is a typical first appointment like?

Your first appointment may take up to two hours. It includes a clinical interview to gather history, neurological examination, and evaluations by the physical therapist and physiatrist; if needed an evaluation by the orthopedic surgeon. The first visit also includes evaluation of your current equipment by orthotic and seating experts. To help with our assessments, we will request video recording of your child in a seated position and while walking.

After completion of the evaluations, we will recommend a comprehensive treatment plan with input from all members of the team, including you and your child.

We request that you bring equipment used by your child to the appointment (e.g., braces, canes, walkers, gait trainers, wheel chairs). Please also bring any previous test reports (e.g., MRI), medical summaries, medication list, school documents (e.g., IEP or 504 Plan), most recent therapy evaluations, and any videos taken at home or during therapy.

We will send you a new patient or return visit form, which you can fill out any time prior to the appointment.


A lot of research is still needed in the field of CP. We are motivated to develop research projects designed to improve treatments available to treat children with CP. If you are interested in research, please contact neuroscience@lebonheur.org.

For more information

For more information, contact the Neuroscience Institute at neuroscience@lebonheur.org or Le Bonheur Connect at 901-287-PEDS or 1-866-870-5570.