Spasticity and Movement Disorders Clinic

The Spasticity and Movement Disorders Clinic, part of Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC's Brain Care Institute, draws patients from across the country and around the world. Staff members at the clinic are routinely invited to lecture internationally, and once each month, physicians and therapists from other regions visit to learn from our clinic.

Our multifaceted approach to children with movement disorders and/or spasticity offers a complete spectrum of care that covers diagnosis, treatment, and surgery.

Multidisciplinary Care

The Spasticity and Movement Disorders Clinic of the Brain Care Institute offers a distinct advantage for families looking for treatment for their child’s movement disorder: the collaborative relationship among pediatric specialists in Orthopaedic Surgery, Rehabilitation Medicine, Neurosurgery, and Child Neurology with special training in neurodevelopmental disabilities.

Specialists in the Spasticity and Movement Disorders Clinic work together to:

  • Diagnose movement disorders
  • Offer medical and surgical treatment options
  • Fulfill each child's needs for rehabilitation

Movement disorders: Myths and Facts

One of the biggest misconceptions about children with movement disorders is that they are intellectually impaired. In reality, children with movement disorders are often of average or above-average intelligence, but due to the disruptive nature of their disorder, they may suffer from communication disorders, learning disabilities, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and/or other neurobehavioral disorders.

Some common movement disorders include:

  • Ataxia, or the inability to control movement 
  • Chorea, which is rapid, jerky, sudden movements of the limbs or face 
  • Dystonia, which is characterized by writhing or twisting movements as a result of muscle contraction
  • Myoclonus, a sudden, shock-like twitching of muscles without a rhythm or pattern 
  • Spasticity, or increased muscle tone or stiffness that results in uncontrolled, awkward movements 
  • Tremor, an involuntary trembling movement

The team in the Spasticity and Movement Disorders Clinic treats the whole child — not just the disorder — by carefully coordinating surgical and medical treatment with a host of other rehabilitative and support services that address all of the child’s clinical needs.

Research and Clinical Studies

Research is integral to the Spasticity and Movement Disorders Clinic of Children’s Hospital's Brain Care Institute. Due to the success of clinical investigations, such as those involving intrathecal baclofen therapy and deep brain stimulation, many children who live with movement disorders have experienced a dramatic improvement in the quality of their lives.

Most of our staff members participate in ongoing research projects, in addition to treating children. Elizabeth C. Tyler-Kabara, MD, PhD, director of the Spasticity and Movement Disorders Clinic, devotes a portion of her time to research on the recovery of function.

Physicians and Staff

Erin Guarino, Occupational Therapist
Terretta Holiday, Clinic Coordinator
Paul Polinko, MSW, LSW, Social Worker
Meg Stanger, PT, Physical Therapist

Referral Requirements

For more information about a referral, please contact the Spasticity and Movement Disorders Clinic by phone at 412-692-5090. 



Elizabeth Tyler-Kabara, MD, PhD

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Ozgur Dede, MD

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Angela Garcia, MD

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  • Movement Disorders Clinic

    Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC
    4401 Penn Avenue
    Pittsburgh PA, 15224