The Weinberg Family Cerebral Palsy Center at NewYork-Presbyterian/Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital, the first of its kind on the East Coast, helps to:
- Transition patients with cerebral palsy (CP) from pediatric to adult care
- Provide education and training for the medical community to work with these patients
- Deliver support to help maximize the potential of people with CP to lead productive lives at all ages
Medical advances in recent years are helping those with cerebral palsy live longer, more productive lives, with nearly 90 percent of CP patients reaching adulthood. This heartening progress brings new challenges to the medical community, however. Historically, doctors focusing on pediatric medicine have provided care to people with CP. But as these patients move through adolescence and into adulthood, they are faced with new and emerging health issues. While pediatric medicine is no longer their appropriate "medical home," adult healthcare systems have not yet been able to provide the support they need. It is our goal to tackle this challenge head-on, exploring more fully the needs of this adult population and providing integrated health care to CP patients of all ages.
The Weinberg Cerebral Palsy Center offers a comprehensive, holistic approach to meet the healthcare needs of the growing adult CP population, with an emphasis on facilitating the often-difficult medical transition from adolescence into adulthood.
What is Cerebral Palsy?
Cerebral palsy is a general term to describe a group of conditions that start when there is damage to or abnormal development in certain areas of the brain. It is a lifelong condition that affects how the brain "talks" and coordinates the body's muscles. This leads to uncoordinated movement and posturing of the body.
There are several reasons why a child would be born with cerebral palsy, some known and others unknown. The factors that increase your child's risk include:
- Blood clotting disorders
- Very low birth weight
- Chemical or substance abuse during pregnancy
- Bleeding in the brain
- Complications of labor and delivery
Cerebral palsy affects about two to three out of every 1,000 babies. It is more common in:
- Boys than girls
- Multiple births
- African Americans, compared with other ethnicities
Symptoms of Cerebral Palsy
While there are specific symptoms of cerebral palsy, every child is different in how they experience them. Your child may experience muscle weakness, poor motor control, or shaking called spasticity. The following are the symptoms that are used to classify cerebral palsy:
- Spastic diplegia ("di" means two): spastic movements of the arms or legs
- Spastic quadriplegia ("quad" means four): spastic movement in all four limbs (arms and legs)
- Spastic hemiplegia: spasticity affecting one half, or side, of the body (like the right arm and right leg)
- Spastic double hemiplegia: spasticity in both sides of the body, but different amounts of shaking when comparing the right side to the left side
- Athetoid (or dyskinectic): involuntary (unable to control) purposeless and rigid movements
- Ataxic: affects balance, leading to an unsteady gait and motions that require fine coordination, such as writing
Treatment for cerebral palsy is tailored for each patient's needs, taking into account:
- Your child's age, overall health, and medical history
- The extent of the disease
- The type of cerebral palsy
- Your child's tolerance for specific medications, procedures, or therapies
- Expectations for the course of the disease
- Your opinions or preferences
Cerebral palsy is not a correctable illness, so most of the treatments will be focused on managing symptoms. At NewYork-Presbyterian/Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital, an interdisciplinary team of healthcare providers offers your child both surgical and nonsurgical treatment options that may include:
- Positioning aids (used to help your child sit, lie, or stand)
- Braces and splints (used to prevent deformity and provide support or protection
- Orthopedic surgeries targeting curvatures in the back, hip dislocations, ankle and foot deformities, and contracted muscles
Cerebral palsy is a lifetime condition. We customize a plan of care to maximize your child's capabilities and potential while preventing and/or minimizing deformities.
Improving Function and Quality of Life for Patients with Cerebral Palsy
While there is currently no cure for cerebral palsy, several treatment options are available to help improve function and quality of life for CP patients, and the continuous advancement of these treatment options will be the model for CP transitional care. The effects of CP and associated disorders can be greatly alleviated by treatment from a variety of healthcare providers, including medical specialists, educators, psychologists, physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech therapists, and social workers. Through the integrated coordination of care among these many providers, patients and their families will benefit from enhanced communication and support.
Providers and Services
Faculty members in the Weinberg Family Cerebral Palsy Center include those with specialties in orthopaedics, cardiology, dentistry, neurology, endocrinology, gastroenterology, liver and kidney disorders, dermatology, obstetrics and gynecology, pediatrics, developmental medicine, pulmonology, kinesiology and movement disorders, genetics, regenerative medicine, urology, nutrition, and psychology and mental illness.
The Weinberg Family Cerebral Palsy Center offers a comprehensive range of healthcare services to satisfy the specific medical needs of each and every one of our patients. These services include orthopaedic and physical therapy evaluations, Botox treatment, occupational therapy, surgical procedures, orthotic and prosthetic interventions, rehabilitation services, and wheelchair clinics, among others. Additional support comes from highly trained speech and language pathologists, social workers, and educators, who provide reliable support, information, and resources for patients and families. Whether providing routine or problem-related assistance, the Center's services are designed to provide patients with the highest level of care.