According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Cerebral Palsy (CP) affects around one in 345 children in the United States, making it the most prevalent motor disability of childhood. The annual Oklahoma Cerebral Palsy Conference will be held on Saturday, March 25, 2023, on the hospital campus in Bethany, Oklahoma, thanks to the dedication of Bethany Children’s Health Center to serving the needs of people with Cerebral Palsy and their families.
Dr. Justin Ramsey, Pediatric Physiatrist at Bethany Children’s, has been involved in committees at the national level for the American Academy for Cerebral Palsy and Developmental Medicine, and has worked to establish clinics and programs specific to CP. He explains the importance of coming together each year to focus on CP at the conference.
“The Cerebral Palsy conference provides the opportunity for children and adults with CP, families and caregivers of those living with CP, and providers and therapists who serve those with CP to learn about updates in the field and discuss challenges specific to our region.” He adds that the conference also builds a sense of community and offers support to those impacted by Cerebral Palsy.
The conference will feature panel discussions, including a youth panel, mother/female caregiver and father/male caregiver panels. A “hot topics” session will address special education in schools, in-home nursing challenges, and transition of care. Specialty booths staffed by providers and therapists will address topics such as deep brain stimulation/seizures, Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy, tone management, constraint therapy, intensive feeding and adaptive equipment.
Bethany Children’s serves as a resource year-round for children with CP and their families. In addition to Dr. Ramsey, Bethany Children’s has pediatric physiatrists Dr. Suneet Sahgal and Dr. Rachel Blankenship on staff. The three pediatric physiatrists regularly see patients with CP as part of their regular clinic schedule.
Dr. Blankenship heads up the Early CP Identification Care Transformation Team at the Hospital, which is a multidisciplinary group that has developed an inpatient protocol based on the most up to date guidelines for evaluating infants in the hospital who are at risk for CP and providing a diagnosis as early as possible. The team is now working on a protocol for the outpatient setting.
“Historically, most children did not receive a diagnosis before around age two, but we now know that CP can be diagnosed even in infancy through the use of evidence-based assessments,” she says. “This information can then be used to help tailor a child’s therapies to their diagnosis and provide appropriate support to the child and family.”
The Hospital’s multidisciplinary Movement Disorder Clinic also includes collaboration with Pediatric Neurology and Neurosurgery specialists, along with assessments from both physical and occupational therapists.
Dr. Sahgal says, “Our multidisciplinary clinics offer an opportunity for families to see all these specialties in one sitting, while also allowing us to create a model where the specialties are conversing with one another to create a more well-integrated healthcare plan. We are looking at innovation as a spirit that we have here at Bethany Children’s.”
For more information and to register for the Oklahoma Cerebral Palsy Conference, go to: .
To learn more about Bethany Children’s Health Center, please visit bethanychildrens.org.