The Cerebral Palsy Program at the University of Michigan is designed to meet the needs of patients across the lifespan including adulthood and the critical period of transitioning from adolescence into adulthood. Cerebral palsy is not a single condition; rather, it describes a wide range of physical and developmental problems that can follow damage to a child's developing brain. People with cerebral palsy can have problems with control of movement, muscle tone, weakness, reflexes and balance. There may also be additional medical and cognitive difficulties that are associated with damage to the brain. Other symptoms may include swallowing disorders, seizures, constipation, excessive drooling and learning disabilities. There are different types of cerebral palsy. Depending on the pattern of how the body is affected, a person might have quadriplegia, diplegia, triplegia, or hemiplegia. They may be spastic, dystonic, athetotic, or have other types of hyperkinesia.
Care of people with cerebral palsy is complex and requires the expertise of a variety of health care practitioners from multiple specialty areas. At the University of Michigan, nationally recognized clinicians work together to provide coordinated care for people with cerebral palsy including cutting edge research and treatment of spasticity and dystonia and its consequences. Board certified physicians orchestrate a team of experts in a program designed to focus on the individual's needs. Medical experts such as orthopedic surgeons, neurosurgeons, neurologists, developmental pediatricians, ophthalmologists, and others are available for evaluation and treatment. Neuropsychologists with special interest in individuals with cerebral palsy offer services such as adapted cognitive testing (ACE Lab). Other unique therapies include restraint therapy (CHAMP Program), upper limb training (ULTrA), intrathecal baclofen pump program, botulinum toxin (Botox), ventilator clinic, and the selective dorsal rhizotomy surgical procedure.
The treatment team includes speech and language pathologists, physical therapists, occupational therapists and recreational therapists who provide hands-on therapeutic intervention services. Rehabilitation engineers advise in the use and development of assistive technology aids. The Orthotics and Prosthetics Center provides multiple services from off-the-shelf to custom made orthotics and braces. Wheelchair and equipment specialists are nearby for help with mobility and home equipment needs. Mentoring opportunities for individuals with CP are provided through a partnership with the Center for Independent Living. Our team is looking forward to serving your needs.