Seattle Children’s is excited to introduce the Cerebral Palsy Program, a new offering for children with cerebral palsy and their families. We have a multidisciplinary team that offers the right services at the right time, including not just medical treatment but the education and support families need to be their child’s best advocate.

Children with cerebral palsy (CP) have long been seen by providers at Seattle Children’s, but the new program expands the services we can provide. Our dedicated staff of specialists, surgeons, therapists, social workers, nurses and administrators will work as a single, coordinated team to offer high-quality, standards-based care tailored to each patient’s unique needs, with access to the equipment and therapies that can help children live their healthiest life possible.

Patients with CP who were already being seen by Seattle Children’s providers are being offered the opportunity to join the program or continue their care as-is. We welcome referrals for new patients.

Ours is the only program of its kind for children with CP in WAMI.

Program Highlights:

  • Comprehensive, coordinated care from a multidisciplinary team of experts from 11 specialties (6 medical/surgical service lines and 5 allied services).
    • Specialties: Neurology (including the Neuro NICU), Neurodevelopmental, Rehabilitation Medicine, Orthopedic Surgery (including Orthopedic Rehabilitation Clinic), Neurosurgery (including the Tone Management Program), Neuropsychology, Occupational Therapy, Orthotics and Prosthetics, Physical Therapy and Speech and Language Services.
  • The first visit: Children who either receive a new diagnosis of CP, are new to the Seattle Children’s system or have not been seen at Seattle Children’s for CP care in more than three years will be scheduled for an initial clinic visit through the CP Program’s New Patient Clinic. This is a one-hour joint meeting with our Neurodevelopmental and Rehab Medicine specialists and the CP Program manager. We discuss their CP diagnosis and goals and determine the best follow-up schedule for each child and family depending on their individual needs. The family receives information and resources about CP and is given an email address and phone number to reach our CP Program manager directly. After the first visit, they can have their follow-up care at any regional clinic.
  • Telemedicine: Telemedicine isn’t available for the first clinic visit but is offered for follow-up visits, when appropriate.
  • The right care at the right time: Many treatments and surgeries are time-sensitive, so ensuring referrals are sent to the program as early as possible can help avoid disappointments and missed opportunities. As kids grow, we help them know about every opportunity to live their healthiest life possible, such as:
    • The newest equipment and therapies that are available
    • The timing of when to begin various therapies throughout childhood
    • The stage at which neurosurgery or orthopedic surgeries should be considered
    • How to monitor for problems like hip dysplasia that need to be identified and treated promptly to result in the best outcomes.

 

Even if a patient has a milder form of CP and their PCP or family feels comfortable managing their care, they benefit from a comprehensive program that connects them to the latest treatments and supports.

Being a part of the CP Program and having families regularly follow up with specialty medical providers ensures patients get the right care at the right time.

  • Care coordination: Neurodevelopmental, Neurology and Rehabilitation Medicine Providers will be available to help manage ongoing medical issues:
    • Neurodevelopmental: Nutrition, school/education, saliva/drooling, behavior/development, cognition, sleep
    • Neurology: Neurogenetics, seizures, ketogenic diet
    • Rehabilitation Medicine: Equipment, orthotics, therapies, tone, bowel/bladder management, pain

 

When needed, these providers will refer to surgical, therapy, and other support services.

  • Support for parents and caregivers: In creating our program, we asked parents what they most needed and wanted. Based on their input, our program offers robust opportunities for caregiver education and connection to support them to be the best possible care managers and advocates for their child:
    • Caregiver support groups that focus on the patient and family experience. They are the only resource of this kind for these families specific to children with CP.
    • Regular presentations throughout the year from CP Program team members on important topics requested by families.
    • An online resource library for families and providers.
  • What we DON’T do:
    • We don’t diagnose CP. If you are concerned that one of your patients may have CP and are seeking diagnostic workup, please refer to Neurology. If diagnosed, the child will be referred to the CP Program by Neurology.
    • We don’t become the child’s medical home in terms of coordinating all their medical, education and social needs, or manage primary care functions like flu shots and colds. That remains with the PCP or family.

 

The program will continue to evolve and grow.

We Welcome Referrals

If you have a patient you would like to enroll in the Seattle Children’s CP Program, please refer to Neurodevelopmental and Rehabilitation Medicine (both teams) and note that you want them seen by the CP Program. All new referrals for CP will be seen by Neurodevelopmental and Rehabilitation Medicine, and additional referrals to other specialties (i.e., Orthopedics) will be added if needed.

Questions? Contact CP Program Manager Kit Pearce by email at kit.pearce@seattlechildrens.org or cerebralpalsy@seattlechildrens.org or by phone at 206-987-6918 or 206-987-0199.

Additional Information