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.

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

Meet the team

Ask your child’s doctor about a referral to our program. We will work with your child’s providers to decide the best treatment plan.

Some physicians and affiliated healthcare professionals who perform services at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta are independent providers and are not hospital employees.


Hughes Spalding hospital

35 Jesse Hill Jr. Drive SE

Atlanta, GA 30303

Children's Medical Office Building (at Scottish Rite hospital)

5455 Meridian Mark Road NE

Atlanta, GA 30342-1654

Children's at North Druid Hills

1605 Chantilly Drive NE

Atlanta, GA 30324-3269