Pediatric Movement Disorders Program

The Pediatric Movement Disorders Program at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles is one of the best in the nation, led by neurologists who specialize in caring for children with these complex and challenging disorders.

Pediatric movement disorders encompass a wide range of conditions. Some cause excessive or involuntary movements, while others make it difficult to move certain body parts at all.

Our experts actively participate in clinical research, giving patients access to the most innovative techniques and treatments available. Our goal is to help all patients move better—and achieve a better quality of life.

Movement Disorders We Treat

Our team has experience treating all types of movement disorders in children. These include:

  • Ataxia
  • Bradykinesia
  • Chorea
  • Dyspraxia
  • Dystonia
  • Myoclonus
  • Parkinsonism
  • Severe tic disorders
  • Spasticity
  • Tremors

Treatments and Services

Movement disorders can seriously impact a child’s quality of life. But thanks to recent breakthroughs in research, successful treatment is possible for many patients.

At CHLA, we offer the most advanced treatment options to help children with these conditions lead full and healthy lives. Treatments include:

  • Deep brain stimulation (DBS) surgery: We use DBS for children with severe movement disorders, including dystonia and Parkinsonism. During DBS, doctors implant a series of electrodes in the brain to help control abnormal muscle contractions. The Deep Brain Stimulation Program at CHLA is the only DBS program in California exclusively for children.
  • Intrathecal baclofen pump: Doctors place a narrow tube (catheter) alongside the spinal cord and connect the tube to a pump in the abdomen. The system pumps concentrated doses of baclofen directly into the spinal cord to help reduce spasticity.
  • Botulinum toxin injections: Doctors inject botulinum toxin into muscles affected by dystonia or spasticity to help relax the muscles and allow more voluntary movement.
  • Oral medications: We use a variety of oral medications to reduce spasticity, relax stiff muscles and reduce tremors or other involuntary movements.

Our program also provides:

Clinical Trials and Research

Our experts are on the cutting edge of researching movement disorders and developing new treatments. That means providing the best possible care for all our patients.

Movement Disorder Research

The Pediatric Movement Disorders Program is internationally recognized for its pioneering contributions to movement control research. We work closely with researchers at USC’s Sanger Lab. This collaboration gives our patients access to the most innovative techniques and treatments to improve their motor control. Current research explores:

  • Computer-based measurements of normal and abnormal muscle movements, which helps researchers understand the causes of some movement disorders
  • Rehabilitative devices to help children retrain and better control their muscle movements

Learn more about our research with the Sanger Lab.

Clinical Trials

Neurologists in the Pediatric Movement Disorders Program are also actively involved in clinical trials of new medications and treatment techniques. Recent trials studied:

  • Portable, wearable feedback devices for treating muscle weakness, sensory neglect or dystonia
  • Transcranial direct-current stimulation for treating dystonia
  • Assistive communication devices and computer interfaces for children with movement disorders

Find out more about our current clinical trials.