Cerebral Palsy Treatment


Because each child with cerebral palsy is unique, we determine the best and most appropriate treatment for each child. There are many treatments that can reduce the effects of CP and also help the child learn ways of adapting to the movement difficulties. The main form of treatment is outpatient therapy. The type and degree of the CP will determine which forms of therapy are most necessary. It is important that you find a therapist who is specially trained in pediatrics as child development is unique and the needs are very different from adult therapy.There is a variety of equipment that can help your child. Sometimes this equipment is needed for the short term until the child achieves certain developmental milestones, or may be necessary for the long term.

Examples of equipment are:

  • Braces or AFOs (Ankle Foot Orthosis) – This is a brace that provides extra support to the child’s foot to assist with standing and walking. Some children will always need to use an AFO for extra balance and support, while other children only need it temporarily.
  • Walkers and Wheelchairs – These are examples of equipment that are helpful for children who need more support in navigating their environment. Walkers are helpful for those children who have more significant balance difficulties and need more support than a brace can provide. Wheelchairs are useful for those children who are not able to walk independently at all or for those children who have some walking ability but tire easily and need a wheelchair for longer distances.

There are also other types of splints and bracing that can help a child use his/her hands. Other treatments are available that can help improve the child’s muscle tone and lessen the effects of the CP. It is important to consult with your specialist regarding what equipment and treatment options are available for your child. It is important to remember that not all treatments are appropriate for every child and that you participate with your specialist to achieve the most appropriate treatment plan for your specific child.

Physical & Occupational Therapy: An experienced team of physical and occupational therapists work with children to develop the motor skills of their hands, arms, and legs. They provide consultation services throughout the child’s clinic and hospital experience.

Orthotics: Our nationally recognized group of on-site orthotic specialists design and fabricate custom braces and other orthotics devices to help with a child’s mobility.

Spasticity Management: Our team of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation physicians and staff offer medical treatment for spasticity to help with function in children with cerebral palsy. Some children will benefit from minimally-invasive focal injections of medications to help with spasticity, while others could benefit from state-of-the art implantable pumps that can deliver medications directly to the nerves causing spasticity. Our experienced team can help guide families to the best medical management of their child.

Pediatric Care: A pediatrician experienced in the assessment and management of the many medical conditions that children with cerebral palsy may have is a valued member of the team and ensures that all treatments are safe and maximally effective. 

Motion Analysis: Our gait and motion analysis experts use cameras and sensors to measure how children use their muscles and oxygen to move. Our multi-disciplinary team applies the data gathered through motion analysis to plan treatments and measure outcomes. 

Surgical Care: When bone problems or muscle tightness become more severe, precise and well-timed surgical procedures can help a child’s function. Our highly trained pediatric orthopaedic surgeons use bone imaging and motion analysis to plan a Single Event Multilevel Surgery (SEMLS). This allows multiple bone, joint, muscle, and tendon problems to be addressed in a single intervention, speeding up a child’s recovery and rehabilitation.

Anesthesia & Pain Management: A team of experienced pediatric anesthesiologists and pain specialists use advanced tools both inside and outside of the operating room to keep children comfortable as they recover from surgery.

Community Connections: Our physicians and therapists have close ties in the communities served by Shriners Hospitals for Children – Northern California, and they help families identify and transition to services available to them in their home communities. Our therapists serve as a link to community therapists so that the intensive therapy received by the children after surgery continues in their community. Our social workers help families find resources in their community to optimize a child’s function.