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Programs & Services

Pediatric Movement Disorders

You’ll find comprehensive care for kids with movement disorders through the Barrow Neurological Institute at Phoenix Children’s Hospital. Multispecialty teams share expertise and offer wide-ranging services, from consultation and diagnosis to therapies and support.

Evaluation and Consultation

We apply the latest diagnostic approaches across specialties to determine the best care plan for your child. Services include:

  • Advanced neuroimaging, including CT, anatomic MRI and functional MRI (fMRI)  
  • Cognitive-behavioral evaluation and guidance
  • Genetic testing 
  • Motion analysis
  • Multispecialty evaluation and consults
  • Neuropsychological evaluation
  • Presurgical evaluation
  • Screening and diagnostic testing
  • Second opinions

Functional MRI

Doctors use functional MRI (fMRI) to map and measure brain function. It’s a safe, noninvasive way for specialists to study how the brain functions, in addition to the information about the brain’s structure or anatomy, which a standard brain MRI provides.

Motion Analysis Lab

Our sophisticated motion analysis lab is located in Phoenix Children’s orthopedics department. Doctors use interactive technologies to evaluate gait (walking patterns), stair climbing and other motions.

Specialty Care

At Phoenix Children’s, kids receive specialized clinical care led by fellowship-trained specialists who treat common and rare conditions, including:

Treatments and Teamwork

At Phoenix Children’s, we tailor treatments for children of all ages, including advanced options for complex disease. Our team cooperates to assess your child’s needs and customize care. 

Medical Therapies

Your child’s doctor may prescribe medication to relax muscles or manage abnormal movements. Other therapy options for specific conditions include:

  • Injection treatments  For some kids, botulinum toxin and phenol injections to targeted muscles or nerves may help to reduce high muscle tone and abnormal movements.

Surgical Therapies

Orthopedic doctors, neurosurgeons and other specialists offer these and other surgical options for certain children and conditions:

  • Deep brain stimulation (DBS) – This procedure treats uncontrollable muscle contractions (dystonia), tremors or other conditions. Surgeons insert tiny electrodes and neurologists program a tiny computer to stimulate parts of the brain that control movement.
  • Intrathecal baclofen pump (ITB) – The goal of ITB therapy is to ease severe muscular tightness (spasticity or dystonia) and abnormal involuntary movements with a surgically implanted, programmable pump that delivers continuous muscle-relaxant medication directly into the brain and spine, where it’s needed most.  
  • Orthopedic procedures – As children develop, doctors may recommend muscle, bone and joint procedures to correct deformities or prevent developmental problems.
  • Selective dorsal rhizotomy (SDR) – Neurosurgeons operate on nerves that contribute to spasticity, or stiff muscle tone, to help improve leg function, walking and ease of care.

Rehabilitative Care

The Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R) program at Phoenix Children’s offers a home base and comprehensive care for children with disabilities. PM&R doctors (physiatrists) direct rehabilitative care for children with cerebral palsy and other disabilities. Services include:

  • Medical prescriptions
  • Splints, braces and assistive devices
  • Exercise and rehabilitative therapies

Some children require intensive, residential care in our acute inpatient rehabilitation program. We use the latest equipment, technologies and therapies, including guided exercise programs that help ease movement, retrain muscles and build strength.

The right tools can offer support and help kids to move freely, safely and comfortably. In our Seating and Mobility Clinic experts focus on evaluations, positioning and use of durable medical equipment such as:

  • Wheelchairs and mobility strollers
  • Devices such as gait trainers and standers
  • Complex bath-positioning equipment

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapies

At Phoenix Children’s, psychologists and therapists can offer:

  • Assistance with developmental and learning disorders
  • Behavioral therapy, counseling and guidance
  • Comprehensive Behavioral Intervention for Tics (CBIT), which teaches coping strategies and habit reversal
  • Referrals for specialized care

Psychiatric Care

Psychiatric services can play an important role in diagnosing and treating some children with Tourette syndrome and tics. Our pediatric psychiatry specialists help children with emotional, behavioral, educational or other concerns.

Research and Clinical Trials

The Barrow Neurological Institute at Phoenix Children's strives to improve diagnostic and treatment for children with movement disorders through innovation. Qualifying children can take part in our clinical research.

Resources for Families

We support kids and families at every turn, including partnerships with local and national family groups and advocacy networks. Ask about these and other resources:

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