Grand Rapids Cerebral Palsy Resources

Care, Finance and Insurance

1. Financial and Cash Assistance/Grants

  • Spectrum Health Financial Assistance: Spectrum Health prides itself on offering care to patients regardless of their financial situations. Spectrum provides a list of financial options for patients in financial hardship or without insurance. View the resource here.
  • Mary Free Bed Financial Services provide information about charges, insurance limitations, accepted insurances, statements, and more.
  • Mary Free Bed Grant: The Mary Free Bed Fund receives income from different foundations and earnings and provides the opportunity to apply for a grant. Read more about the grant opportunity here.
  • Social Security Disability Help: This site offers advice to Grand Rapids residents regarding Social Security Disability benefits—qualification requirements, application guidelines, Grand Rapids health resource centers, what to expect from disability benefits, and where to find Social Security Disability lawyers.

2. Health Care

Healthcare Centers

Medical facilities line the Grand Rapids “Medical Mile”

  • Spectrum Health System: Spectrum Health System, a not-for-profit healthcare system in Western Michigan, operates eleven hospitals throughout the state and is Western Michigan’s largest employer. Four of Spectrum Health’s hospitals in Grand Rapids include the following:
    • Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital: Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital delivers pediatric medical services that specifically address the physical, developmental, and emotional needs of children. DeVos’s pediatric services and programs of specific benefit to children with cerebral palsy or other birth injuries include Audiology and Hearing, Behavioral Pediatrics, General Pediatrics, Hand Surgery, Maternal-Fetal Medicine, Neonatology, the Gerber Center for Infant Development and Nutrition, Neurology, Pediatric Neurosurgery, Plastic Surgery, and Rehabilitation Services.
    • Butterworth Hospital: Butterworth is a clinical leader in a range of medical services including obstetrics and gynecology, neurosciences, and trauma. Butterworth is home to the Spectrum Health Family Birthplace and the Gerber Foundation Neonatal Center, two medical facilities that inspired and prompted the creation of Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital. Other programs and services available at Butterworth Hospital include the Balance Center, Brain Injury, Seizures, Women’s Health, and many others.
    • Blodgett Hospital: Blodgett Hospital, located in East Grand Rapids, offers services including Neurology, Progressive Care, and Radiology.
    • Special Care Hospital: Spectrum Health Special Care Hospital, a non-profit specialty hospital, is the area’s largest provider of Long Term Acute Care (LTAC) for medically complex conditions. Special Care Hospital patients usually require
    • long term
    • medical care, daily visits with medical professionals, and interdisciplinary treatment plans including a range of therapies and treatments. Special Care Hospital provides programs in Traumatic Brain Injury, Medically Complex Conditions, Pulmonary Management, and more.
Specialty Hospitals

A pediatric patient at Mary Free Bed

Grand Rapids’ Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital is a not-for-profit medical center that provides acute-care rehabilitation services to children and adults. Patients who have suffered spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, strokes, and other medical conditions participate in Mary Free Bed’s wide variety of in- and out-patient services, some of which include adaptive seating, driver rehabilitation, muscular re-education, adaptive sports, and more. While Mary Free Bed’s medical resources are seemingly endless for those with rehabilitation needs, on this page we’ll largely discuss the following programs and services available at Mary Free Bed:

  • Mary Free Bed Spasticity Management Clinic: At the Spasticity Clinic, physical and occupational therapists provide evaluation, treatment, medication, therapy, adaptive equipment, psychological counseling, and other necessary forms of therapy to manage and reduce the effects of spasticity in a child.
  • Mary Free Bed Child and Adolescent Program: Three divisions within the Child and Adolescent Rehabilitation Program at Mary Free Bed include Pediatric Brain Injury Rehabilitation, the Post-Concussion Program, and the Center for Limb Differences, which focuses on the needs of children with hand, foot, and limb differences (like those associated with cerebral palsy).
  • Great Lakes Select Specialty Hospital: Most patients at the Great Lakes Select Specialty Hospital Grand Rapids Campus have had experience with critical care in the past and now require continued care for their lasting medical needs. All Specialty Select Hospitals aim to provide personalized, acute care for patients with longer recovery times. Clinical services include Rehabilitation Therapy, Medically-Complex Treatment (including surgical recovery, post-trauma, sepsis, multi-system complications, and more), Pulmonary/Ventilator Weaning, Wound Care, Neuro and Post-Trauma (including anoxic brain injury, neuro-trauma, seizures, and paraplegia), Infectious Disease (such as bacterial and viral infection, sepsis, post-surgical wound infection, and more), and many others.

3. Insurance

Lifestyle Resources

1. Education

  • Grand Rapids Public Schools Special Education Department: The Grand Rapids Special Education Department offers a full range of special education services for special needs students up to age 26. The program provides free public education and accommodates modifications and supports to students with a range of disabilities. Early On Intervention Services are available to infants and young children, and students participate in transition planning services to prepare for adult opportunities.
  • Head Start for Kent County: Located in Walker, Michigan, Head Start for Kent County is a non-profit agency that provides family-centered education services to the low-income families of Kent County. The agency’s Head Start and Early Head Start programs provide children with education, medical attention, nutrition, and social services. Children with developmental disabilities like cerebral palsy can benefit greatly from the program’s ability to create a smoother transition into elementary school.
  • Lake Michigan Academy: Located in Grand Rapids, Lake Michigan Academy is a private 1-12 school founded with the purpose of educating and empowering children with learning disabilities. Lake Michigan Academy offers academic terms year-round.
  • Comprehensive Therapy Center: The Comprehensive Therapy Center is a fully-integrated rehabilitation center in Grand Rapids that offers a range of therapeutic services. The Tutoring for Academic Success program provides specialized academic training for children and adults with learning disabilities, especially those from traumatic brain injury.
  • The Alcott Center for Cognitive Enhancement is an organization committed to identifying, evaluating, and promoting learning and education strategies for children with a range of learning difficulties. Children at The Alcott Center often have speech-language delays, developmental delays, cerebral palsy, central auditory processing disorder, memory impairments, brain injuries, learning disabilities, poor grades, AD/HD, non-verbal learning disabilities, sensory integration dysfunction, and other deficits limiting learning ability. The Alcott Center for Cognitive Enhancement has locations in Grand Rapids and Richland (a city near Kalamazoo).

2. Care

  • Baxter Community Center: Baxter Community Center provides complete child care to children between the ages of two and twelve. Full-time care, before and after school care, and transportation is provided. Baxter Community Center works in collaboration with Kent Regional 4-C, Kent County Head Start, and the Kent County Department of Human Services.
  • Grand Rapids This child and adult care resource lists all of the special needs care providers available in Grand Rapids.

3. Employment

4. Housing

  • Real Life Living Services: Real Life Living Services (RLLS), a member of the Michigan Assisted Living Association, provides living support to people with disabilities. Trained staff members evaluate the individual needs of each customer and provide community living support services, children’s respite services, home help, and employment services. Real Life Living Services has Michigan offices in Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids, and Manistee.
  • Thresholds: Thresholds is a non-profit housing agency that serves Kent County residents with developmental disabilities. The agency provides case management, family support, foster care, home support, respite care, and support coordination for both children and adults.
  • This housing resource allows users to create custom searches for Grand Rapids homes and apartments. Those with specific housing needs can search for barrier-free properties and homes with rent assistance.
  • Fair Housing Center of West Michigan: This private, non-profit fair housing organization ensures citizens are provided with comprehensive fair housing services. The agency offers the education, outreach, advocacy, research, and enforcement necessary to prevent housing discrimination.
  • ZeroStep: The ZeroStep program provides housing information and universal home design consultations for people who require walker and wheelchair accessible homes.
  • Home Repair Services is a non-profit housing organization that provides free post-purchase home ownership services for low-income homeowners. One of the organization’s services includes the installation of wheelchair ramps for those with mobility limitations.

5. Transportation

  • The Rapid provides a variety of public transportation services throughout and beyond the Grand Rapids metro area. The Rapid operates on a fixed-route, demand-response system for people with disabilities and offers carpooling and other services. For disabled patrons that require door-to-door service, the Rapid bus provides the GO!Bus, which largely operates on the same schedule. Additionally, the Rapid offers Travel Training for those who need guidance or assistance using public transportation.
  • Lakeshore Ride Link is a transportation resource that provides access to transportation through education, advocacy, and resource collaboration. Lakeshore Ride Link has compiled a list of accessible transportation providers in Kent County (as well as Ottawa, Allegan, and Muskegon Counties) for disabled people. View the list here.
  • Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital provides a list of local transportation services, as well as guidelines for how to use each. View the resource here.

6. Adaptive Equipment

  • Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital provides a range of assistive technologies and adaptive equipment to increase the mobility, independence, and well-being of patients. The following are some of these devices:
    • The Rehab Technology Center at Mary Free Bed provides assistive technologies to children including pediatric augmentative communication devices, computer access, electronic aids, and independent living services.
    • Orthotics & Prosthetics: Mary Free Bed Orthotics & Prosthetics provides orthotic, prosthetic, seating, and adaptive equipment for patients.
    • OrthoSeat for Kids: Orthotic Seating and Assistive Technology (part of Mary Free Bed Orthotics & Prosthetics) provides custom devices and proper, high-quality orthotic seating for children.
    • Therapeutic Technology: Mary Free Bed’s selection of pediatric therapeutic equipment is primarily used in physical and occupational therapy regimens. To view the technology descriptions, click here.
  • Creative Mobility Group maximizes independence by providing mobility vehicles and equipment to customers. Product types include acceleration and braking devices, electronic controls, seating and security, wheelchair and scooter lifts, and steering aids.
  • Michigan Loan Closets lists available assistive technologies and adaptive equipment for loan throughout Kent County.

7. Accessible Playgrounds

  • The playground at Versluis Park: Located north of Grand Rapids at 6161 Belmont Avenue NE, Belmont, Michigan 49306, this playground has flat, even surfaces for wheelchair accessibility. In fact, all of Versluis Park was designed to provide accessible recreation—the park has accessible playground areas, picnic areas, horseshoe and volleyball grounds, a fishing pier, a mile-long paved trail, and swimming areas with lifeguard stations and a handicapped-friendly bathhouse.
  • The playground at Grand Rapids Township Park, located at 1836 East Beltline Ave NE, Grand Rapids Charter Twp., has an accessible playground with wheelchair-friendly surfaces.

Organizations, Support, and Information

1. Foundations and Charities

Mid-Michigan Ronald McDonald House

  •  The Ronald McDonald House of Western Michigan, a charity designed to support the general health and well-being of hospitalized children and their families, accepts referrals from all hospitals and treatment programs in Grand Rapids. The Ronald McDonald House provides the family members of a sick child with a comfortable, relaxing place to stay near the hospital. Examples of referred guests include parents of premature infants in DeVos Children’s Hospital, mothers with high-risk pregnancies, children being treated for injuries at Mary Free Bed, and more.
  • Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital Foundation: Mary Free Bed patients are and have always been served regardless of their financial standings. Needless to say, financial contributions are an important part of the hospital’s functioning. To donate to or read more about the Mary Free Bed Foundation, click here.

2. Disability Organizations

  • Ms. Wheelchair Michigan: Revolving around advocacy, achievement, communication, and presentation, Ms. Wheelchair Michigan is a competition based out of Grand Rapids that identifies eloquent, confident, and accomplished leaders and spokeswomen within the disability culture. Winners of the annual Ms. Wheelchair Michigan escalate to the Ms. Wheelchair America contest.
  • Easter Seals Michigan: Easter Seals is a nonprofit charitable organization that provides a range of services for children and adults affected by disability. Grand Rapids is home to one of ten Easter Seals Michigan offices and offers programs and services including autism services, family behavioral health services, children’s development therapies, and more.
  • Epilepsy Foundation of Michigan: Epilepsy and seizures are two of the most common complications associated with cerebral palsy. The Epilepsy Foundation of Michigan is a group dedicated to bettering the lives of those affected by epilepsy. Programs and services include education consultation, camps, conference calls, community education, scholarships, advocacy, and other initiatives, programs, and resources.
  • Hope Network: Hope Network, a non-profit organization headquartered in Grand Rapids, provides services in 240 locations, employs 2,500 staff members, and operates in over 75 countries. Hope Network provides rehabilitation services, developmental services, behavioral health, and support services to people with disabilities or disadvantages.
  • The Arc Kent County: The Arc Kent County, a division of Arc of the United States, is an organization that serves people with intellectual and developmental disabilities by improving systems of support and service. The Arc Kent County achieves its mission through education, housing, employment, family support, case management, and recreation.
  • Network180 is an organization that provides support, information, and services to people with developmental disabilities in order to improve well-being among Kent County’s disabled community. To learn more about the organization’s programs, resources, and mission, visit their website here.

3. Research Initiatives

  • Mary Free Bed Motion Analysis Center (MAC): Researchers at the MAC design and study innovative treatments and therapies for those with gait and movement abnormalities through objective analysis, research, and education.
  • Origins, Wellness & Life-history in CP (OWL): Mary Free Bed participates in OWL, the ongoing Michigan State University research initiative that studies the causes of cerebral palsy. The OWL initiative aims to prevent the causes of CP by conducting interviews with mothers, testing and collecting biological matter from mothers and infants, and more. Nancy Dodge, M.D. of DeVos Children’s Hospital is one of two co-investigators in the research study.

4. Legal Information, Resources, and Advocacy

  • Disability Advocates of Kent County (DAKC): DAKC is a disability advocacy group dedicated to campaigning for equal access for all people living with disabilities in Kent County. Federally and state mandated “center of independent living” as defined by the Rehabilitation Act, DAKC provides resources for accessibility, advocacy, employment, housing, independent living, transportation, and more. The group is composed of a diverse pool of disabled members and was founded by those disabled individuals that hoped to see greater community change as a result of personal advocacy and accessibility goals.
  • Helen DeVos Children’s Advocacy Network: The Children’s Advocacy Network at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital aims to positively change public policy in the favor of the Michigan children and families requiring medical attention. The Children’s Advocacy Network encourages those with a variety of medical needs to become members to ensure that proper legislation passes to prevent injury and provide all children with access to health care.

5. Family and Parent Resources

  • DeVos Children’s Hospital Support Groups and Programs: Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital relieves some of the stresses of a difficult diagnosis through support groups and programs for the parents, families, and children affected by a medical stay. Programs include the Pediatric Oncology Resource Team (P.O.R.T), Neonatal Parent-to-Parent Partnership, Burn Center Programs, and Grief Support Programs. Additionally, the hospital provides kids’ camps including Wheelchair Sports Camp, Asthma Camp, and Burn Camp.
  • DeVos Children’s Hospital Child Life Services: Certified Child Life Specialists at DeVos Children’s Hospital provide therapeutic opportunities to parents and children during hospital stays. Services include therapeutic recreation, educational opportunities, play, counseling, pre-procedural tours, and others.
  • DeVos Children’s Hospital Pastoral Care: Pastoral care is available 24/7 to patients and families at DeVos Children’s Hospital. Chaplains visit, offer counseling , provide books and videos, offer prayer, and lead worship.
  • DeVos Children’s Hospital NICU Resources: The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at DeVos Children’s Hospital offers a number of support programs for parents, siblings, and other loved ones of a newborn in the NICU. Programs and services include Sibling Support, NICU Parent Meetings, Transition-to-Home, Car Seat Safety, CPR classes, Shaken Baby Prevention, Infant Massage and Scrapbooking.
  • DeVos Hypothermia Treatment Guide for Parents: This resource provides an explanation of hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (also known as HIE or birth asphyxia) for parents and provides information on hypothermia treatment.
  • Butterworth Hospital Chapel: Pastoral care and chapel services are available 24/7 to patients and visitors at Butterworth Hospital.
  • The Mercy Health Meditation Labyrinth and Outdoor Healing Gardens is a resource available 24/7 to Mercy Health Saint Mary’s patients and guests. This space provides therapeutic, spiritual, and psychological comfort for people experiencing medical difficulties.
  • Mercy Health Saint Mary’s Spiritual and Religious Support: Saint Mary’s employs certified chaplains as part of the hospital interdisciplinary health care team to address the diverse spiritual needs of patients and their families. The hospital also houses Our Lady of Mercy Chapel, offers worship services, and conducts Catholic Mass.
  • Comprehensive Therapy Center Group Classes: The Comprehensive Therapy Center offers parent and teacher classes. Courses teach caregivers how to teach children with developmental disabilities methods of completing tasks like writing, personal grooming, reading, and more.
  • Mary Free Bed Spiritual Care resources include chapel services, prayer guidance, and more.
  • Mary Free Bed Teasing Resources: Mary Free Bed understands that children with rehabilitation needs commonly experience teasing from peers, so the hospital has compiled a help guide for parents. The resource discusses how to prevent, adapt to, and cope with bullying and teasing.
  • The Grand Rapids Oral Deaf Program Sibshop is a peer support group for children ages 4 to 10 with deaf or hard of hearing siblings. The support group discusses concerns about growing, learning, and family interaction with a deaf family member. To learn more about the program, call (616) 819-3070.

Treatment and Therapy Resources

1. Physical Therapy

  • DeVos Children’s Hospital Rehabilitation Services: The DeVos Children’s Hospital Rehabilitation Services offer physical therapy opportunities for children with a number of medical conditions and injuries, some of which include neurodevelopmental impairments, musculoskeletal disorders (which develop after sprains, surgeries, weaknesses, brachial plexus injuries, and other birth injuries), traumatic brain injury, and more.
  • Mary Free Bed Pediatric Cerebral Palsy Program: Physical therapy services at Mary Free Bed’s Pediatric Cerebral Palsy Program aim to promote independence in mobility, self-care, and communication. Physical therapy exercises generally take place as part of an interdisciplinary therapy program involving other forms of therapy.
  • Thresholds, the nonprofit housing agency we discussed in the Lifestyle Resources section under Housing, provides physical therapy programs and exercises to members.
  • BRAINS (Behavioral Resources and Institute for Neurophysical Services): BRAINS is a therapy and psychological testing center in Grand Rapids. A team of physical therapists at BRAINS provides physical therapy to patients with a range of rehabilitation needs.
    • René Manker is a certified Anat Baniel Method (ABM) and Feldenkrais practitioner at BRAINS who specializes in early intervention, developmental and sensory processing disorders, and ABM. She provides ABM and Feldenkrais therapy for infants through adults, rehabilitation for children with special needs, sensorimotor evaluations, consultation, and treatment interventions for a variety of conditions and injuries.
  • Spectrum Health Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation: Physical therapy services and programs at Spectrum Health include the Balance Center, Hand Care Program, Nervous System Disorders, Water Therapy, Neuro Rehabilitation Program, and many more.

2. Recreational Therapy

Grand Rapids is home to some of the most comprehensive recreational therapy programs and offerings in the state of Michigan. Hospitals, rehab centers, and community programs offer recreational therapy programs tailored specifically to infants, children, adolescents and adults with a range of medical conditions, developmental disabilities, and rehabilitation needs. In this section we’ll list some of these programs. We encourage residents throughout Michigan to take advantage of Grand Rapids’ excellent recreational and therapeutic resources.

Animal Therapy
  • Equest Center for Therapeutic Riding, Inc.: Rockford’s Equest Center provides equine-based therapy for people living with physical, mental, and social challenges. The Center offers therapeutic riding lessons, camps, music therapy, vocational and job training, and a number of other programs, services, and workshops hinged on therapeutic human-animal interaction and rehabilitation.
  • West Michigan Therapy Dogs, Inc. (WMTD): WMTD is a non-profit therapy dog organization that provides western Michigan with Animal Assisted Activities (AAA), Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT), rehabilitative services, educational events, and other programs that support emotional, physical, and psychological well-being in those living with disabilities or challenges.
Sports Therapy
  • Mary Free Bed’s Wheelchair and Adaptive Sports Program is one of the most impressive and extensive adapted sports programs in Michigan. It offers a number of adapted sports, events, and lessons to patients including archery, basketball, cycling, camping, goalball, golf, handcycling and wheelchair racing, a Jr. Wheelchair Sports Camp, kayaking, canoeing, rugby, rock climbing, sailing, scuba diving, sled hockey, softball, sports camps, skiing, swimming, wheelchair tennis, and water skiing.
  • The Grand Rapids Wheelchair Sports Association Tennis Program has men’s, women’s, quad, and junior’s teams and has trained some of the nation’s players. The program participates in tournaments, demonstrations, fundraisers, mixers, and more.
  • The Grand Rapids Eagles Disabled Sport Team provides physically disabled children ages 7 and up to participate in recreational and competitive sports including bocce ball, track and field, skiing, bowling, cycling, cross country running, soccer,  lifting, and more. Most participants have cerebral palsy or spina bifida, but any special needs or handicapped participants are welcome.
Ski Therapy
  • Mary Free Bed Adaptive Downhill Ski: Mary Free Bed offers access to adaptive skiing equipment and downhill ski lessons to people with various types of disabilities. Adaptive downhill skiers enjoy physical exercise, rehabilitation, social interaction and networking, and an enjoyable and exhilarating activity for the long Michigan winter.
  • Cannonsburg Challenged Ski Association (CCSA): CCSA, a non-profit organization in Ada, Michigan, is a chapter of Disabled Sports USA that provides ski instruction for disabled participants. The program offers access to and information about adaptive ski equipment and training, and services include dry-land training, ski hill lessons, fundraising events, and other social events.
Cycle Therapy
  • Mary Free Bed Cycle Programs: Mary Free Bed operates a handcycling team and sponsors a number of wheelchair racing events. Additionally, each year Mary Free Bed holds an event called Bikes for the Rest of Us that introduces people with disabilities to the sport of adaptive cycling.
  • Spectrum Health offers customized water therapy programs to patients with injuries and medical conditions like cerebral palsy, chronic pain, neurological conditions, and more. Trained physical therapists staff Spectrum Health pools and provide special water therapy activities to improve overall fitness, stimulate interest, and supplement land therapy regimens.
  • Mary Free Bed Pediatric Water Therapy provides a safe, comfortable environment for patients to participate in gentle, fun, and productive physical therapies. Recreational water therapists provide therapy lessons, teach water safety, provide adaptive swimming tips, and evaluate swimmers’ skills.
Art Therapy
  • Artists Creating Together (ACT) is a non-profit organization that provides students with disabilities the opportunity to collaborate and create art. The program supports emotional and psychological well-being, stimulates creativity and interest, promotes confidence and independence, and offers an environment for social interaction.
  • Spectrum Health Music Therapy: Spectrum Health offers music therapy to patients undergoing rehabilitation from neurological injuries. The program helps patients improve movement, communication skills, and cognition in a fun and enjoyable way.
  • Mary Free Bed Art Therapy: Mary Free Bed’s recreational art therapy programs help patients express emotion, develop creative sensibilities and interests, and promote independence. Mary Free Bed sponsors an annual art exhibition, provides art programs for pediatric and teen patients, and participates in the famous ArtPrize competition in downtown Grand Rapids.
Special Needs Camps
  • A camper at the DeVos Wheelchair Sports Camp
  • Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital Wheelchair Sports Camp: Understanding that fun and physical exercise is a vital part of any child’s life, particularly a disabled or recovering child’s life, DeVos Children’s Hospital sponsors a wheelchair sports summer camp for its pediatric patients.
  • Indian Trails Camp: Indian Trails Camp offers a barrier-free camp setting and accepts campers with a variety of physical and developmental disabilities. Camp activities include a wide range of arts, sports, and recreational pursuits.
  • Mary Free Bed Jr. Wheelchair Sports Camp provides young people with disabilities the opportunity to participate in a fun and physical sports camp. The camp takes place each summer at Grand Valley State University and accepts campers from ages 7-18.

3. Occupational Therapy

  • The Comprehensive Therapy Center’s pediatric occupational therapy classes teach patients to complete everyday tasks like writing, playing, and processing sensory information.
  • Thresholds, the non-profit housing resource we’ve discussed in the Housing and Physical Therapy Resource sections, places occupational therapists in patients’ living spaces to help them learn to complete daily living tasks independently.
  • BRAINS, the therapy and psychological testing center we discussed in the Physical Therapy Resource section, also provides occupational therapy programs to patients.
  • Family Tree Therapies is a private clinic specializing in pediatric occupational and speech therapies. Occupational therapy approaches include reflex integration, sensory integration, therapeutic listening, positive discipline, a “brain gym” and interactive metronome.
  • The Mary Free Bed Cerebral Palsy Program includes an occupational therapy program as part of each patient’s broader comprehensive rehabilitation program.

4. Speech and Language Therapy

  • DeVos Children’s Hospital Rehabilitation Services: The DeVos Children’s Hospital Rehabilitation Services offer speech and language therapy services for children with medical conditions including sensory integration disorders, feeding or swallowing dysfunction, language disorders, speech production disorders dysfluency and stuttering, voice disorders, hearing impairments, and more.
  • Dr. Marge Penning PhD CCC-SLP is a Grand Rapids medical professional that offers psycholinguistic services to patients around the Kent County area. Services include diagnosis and treatment of speech, language, processing, voice, literacy and learning skills.
  • The Comprehensive Therapy Center and Thresholds, two comprehensive therapy centers we’ve discussed already in our Grand Rapids Education, Family and Parent, and Occupational Therapy Resource sections, both offer speech-language therapy sessions for adults and children. Therapy sessions work to resolve issues with articulation, fluency, voice, swallowing, and more.
  • Family Tree Therapies offers speech-language therapy sessions that utilize reflex integration, visualization and verbalization programs, positive discipline, facilitated communication, and other mechanisms for communication and oral rehabilitation.
  • Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital offers the following speech and language therapy resources:
    • The Pediatric Cerebral Palsy Program provides speech and language evaluation, therapy, and treatment alongside other forms of therapy.
    • Pediatric Speech & Language Services focus on teaching parents how to promote and teach proper communication and oral techniques to their children.
    • Pediatric Swallowing Studies and FEES: Speech-language therapists diagnose swallowing issues (dysphagia) with FEES studies, which track the movement of material as a patient swallows. These diagnostic tests show whether food enters the lungs or stomach and serve as an important step in a child’s process of treatment and therapy.

5. Conductive Education

The Conductive Learning Center: Grand Rapids’ Conductive Learning Center (CLC) is a non-profit organization that aims to promote social, cognitive, and physical independence in children with motor challenges through the principles of Conductive Education (which you can read more about here). The Grand Rapids Conductive Learning Center is the only official Conductive Education center in west Michigan and one of only a handful in North America. The center offers different classes and programs hinged on the tenets of Conductive Education and accepts students from birth up to age 26.

6. Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT)

Spectrum Health System has a Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) facility. While Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy doesn’t offer guaranteed results for cerebral palsy, infant brain damage, or neurological birth injury, a number of patients turn to it as an alternative form of therapy. You can read more about HBOT here.

7. Stem Cell Therapy

Public umbilical cord blood banking facilities are available in Grand Rapids at the Spectrum Health Butterworth Hospital Campus and the Mercy Health Saint Mary’s Campus. Donations from these locations are stored at one of the hospital banks operated by Michigan Blood’s Cord Blood Banks.

8. Complementary and Alternative Therapies

  • Spectrum Health Complementary and Alternative Medicine Services: Spectrum Health offers complementary and alternative therapies including compassionate connection (a form of massage therapy), bedside music support, massage therapy, Reiki (healing touch), acupuncture, Korean hand therapy, meditation, animal therapy, herbal teas, art expression and more.
  • Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital: This resource provides an overview of complementary and alternative medicine and therapies for children—the resource discusses information about what complementary and alternative medicine is, offers recommendations for children’s health, discusses safety, and more.
  • Mercy Health Saint Mary’s Holistic Care offers acupuncture, guided imagery, massage therapy, music therapy, and pet therapy.
  • The Comprehensive Therapy Center in Grand Rapids offers children’s yoga classes to strengthen muscles, improve motor skills, and support balance and concentration. Yoga is a fun and relaxing form of complementary therapy for a number of people with conditions like cerebral palsy.
  • Grand Rapids Natural Health provides homeopathic health consultations and programs to patients around Grand Rapids. Services include lifestyle, supplements, herbs, and dietary counseling.
  • Holistic Health and Wellness in Grand Rapids provides acupuncture, energy work (such as Reiki), massage therapy, naturopathic medicine, skin care, and more.

9. Behavioral Therapy and Emotional Counseling

  • Mary Free Bed Neuropsychological Services include cognitive and behavioral assessments for patients with known, suspected, or disputed cerebral functioning. Follow-up consultation and treatment is available for patients with neuropsychological impairment.
  • DeVos Children’s Hospital Behavioral Pediatrics offers behavioral and developmental consultative referrals for patients ages five and under.

Medical Resources

  • The Mary Free Bed Motion Analysis Center is an accredited motion analysis lab that evaluates individuals with human movement disorders. The center evaluates a number of different movement disorders, conducts extensive research, and serves as an educational facility.
  • Mary Free Bed Biofeedback Lab for Neuromuscular Re-education restores and improves the functions of patients with neuromuscular irregularities from central nervous system damage. Services include treatment, evaluation, personalized care plans, training sessions for Biofeedback, interdisciplinary therapy services, and recommendations.

1. Diagnostic Testing

Grand Rapids’ main hospitals are equipped with traditional diagnostic services, equipment, and facilities including testing, imaging, lab care, respiratory care, and endoscopy.

2. Surgery

For children with cerebral palsy or similar conditions caused by birth injury, Helen DeVos has excellent surgical options tailored specifically for children, which you can read more about here. For instance, medical professionals at DeVos Children’s Hospital pioneered the minimally invasive selective dorsal rhizotomy procedure.

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