Movement Disorders

Movement Disorders

Pediatric Movement Disorders Program

Our goal is to restore normal movement so that children and families can enjoy everyday activities.

Children with movement disorders struggle to control their bodies. In some children, the abnormal movements are predictable, while in others the movements may seem random. Uncontrolled movements come from a problem in brain function that causes unwanted nerve impulses. Movement disorders can drastically disrupt a child’s life and make school, extra-curricular activities and social settings challenging and frustrating.

The movement disorders team at Children's Health℠ is known globally for our ability to help children control and manage muscle movement, so they can participate in activities and enjoy a happy childhood.

The most advanced care available

Children’s Health offers a variety of services and treatments to help your child. You and your doctor will talk about which of these will best fit your child’s needs. Our services and treatments include:

  • Botulinum toxin (“Botox”) injections, which help slow muscles that contract too much. Botox is a drug that’s used for medical treatment, even though most people associate it with cosmetic treatments (to smooth out wrinkles, for example). Your child will get a series of injections specifically targeting the muscles that are contracting too much.
  • Deep brain stimulation (DBS), a treatment to help control abnormal movements. DBS is like a pacemaker, but for the brain instead of the heart. Your child’s surgeon will implant a tiny device (called a pulse generator) under the skin of the chest, below the collarbone or in their belly. The surgeon will also implant tiny electrodes in the deepest part of the brain that controls body movement. The pulse generator sends electrical signals to the electrodes to help control your child's involuntary motion.
  • Leading medications, using the latest therapies and clinical trials to help children manage movement disorders.
  • Physical therapy, which helps children to retrain muscles that have lost their normal function. This can be useful when recovering from an injury, but also when the brain is sending incorrect signals to the muscles.
  • Occupational therapy, which helps children adapt their movements to maximize their abilities. This can help children avoid the triggers for some movement disorders, or can help a child regain skills (like handwriting, or using utensils) lost because of a movement disorder.
  • Psychological counseling, helping children with abnormal movements manage the limitations their body places on them. Some children can also benefit from the help of a counselor to identify triggers for their movements. We aim to treat whole children – both mind and body.

Team approach to Pediatric Movement Disorders

If your child is diagnosed with a movement disorder, they may see multiple doctors, including a geneticist, cardiologist, physical or occupational therapist, or psychologist – or all of these professionals. We know this can seem overwhelming, but we’re here to pull together the ideal team to match your child’s needs.

We’ll give you referrals to any specialist you need and keep track of your child’s progress. You can get all of your child’s care at Children’s Health, so you don’t have to coordinate different clinics that aren’t used to working together.

We treat more children with movement disorders than almost any center in our region. Each child gets their own detailed, personal treatment plan to meet their needs. By offering the latest therapies and treatments, we give your child the best chance of living a full, active life.

Our commitment to research improves care

Research is the backbone of who we are and what we do. We’re proud to be part of the NeuroNEXT clinical trials consortium, the National Institutes of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, and research collaboratives that target specific types of movement disorders. Our research networks are actively looking for inherited causes of movement disorders and new ways of treating movement disorders. We partner with other top institutions around the world to identify new disorders and test new therapies.

Understanding which genes cause a child’s disorder helps our doctors make an exact diagnosis and can also help tailor treatment to each child. Because we are actively researching the causes of diseases, we can sometimes find answers for families who have struggled to find a diagnosis.

Meet the Care Team

Children’s Health is home to a team of experts dedicated to giving your child the best care. Meet our team.