Pediatric Rehabilitation Services

Will Van Dyke (right) with physical therapist Sarah Staropoli (left) and physician assistant Alissa Lyman (center) with workout equipment in the background.
Will Van Dyke, a teen born with a heart condition, takes part in our Doernbecher Children’s Hospital cardiac rehab program. Here he works with physical therapist Sarah Staropoli (left) and physician assistant Alissa Lyman.

Our therapists will work with your family to promote your child’s independence and quality of life. We can help your child move, function and communicate better at home, at school and at play. You’ll find:

  • Experts in speech, physical and occupational therapy.
  • Therapists who specialize in treating children from birth through high school.
  • Rehabilitation care for a wide range of illnesses, injuries and disabilities.
  • Many specialty clinics and programs. Some are unique in Oregon. 
  • Therapists and providers who work as a team to give your child complete care.
  • Access to all the expertise and resources of Doernbecher Children’s Hospital and OHSU.

The Child Development and Rehabilitation Center at OHSU Doernbecher Children’s Hospital also offers rehabilitation services for children with chronic conditions. Our specialists will guide your family to the right program for your child.

Care for children and teens

Expert providers: All our therapists have residency training in pediatrics or have completed internships or other extensive on-the-job training with kids and families. Most see only pediatric patients. Our board-certified neonatal occupational therapist specializes in treating newborns.

Team-based care: Our therapists and other providers work together to meet every need. Your child’s team might include:

  • Cancer and orthopaedic specialists
  • Heart or brain doctors
  • Nurses
  • Dietitians

Specialty clinics and programs

  • A cardiac rehabilitation program for children with heart conditions
  • A follow-up program for babies moving home from neonatal intensive care
  • Complete care for sports injuries, with programs for high school athletes
  • A comprehensive sports concussion program
  • The Schroth Method for scoliosis

Child-size equipment: We offer the latest in exercise equipment, walkers, wheelchairs and other mobility aids. We also use toys as part of therapy.

Conditions we treat

If your child has a disability or is recovering from illness or injury, you’ll find expert care for conditions including: 

  • Behavior and sensory integration conditions, including autism
  • Cardiac rehabilitation
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Communication and speech difficulties 
  • Concussion 
  • Developmental delay
  • Down syndrome 
  • Feeding and swallowing disorders
  • Perceptual or visual problems 
  • Scoliosis 
  • Sports injuries 
  • Torticollis (tightness in neck muscles, usually in infants, causing the head to tilt)
  • Trauma

Our services

We care for newborns, children and teenagers. Usually, younger children receive care at Doernbecher Children’s Hospital, and older teens go to OHSU’s Center for Health and Healing Building 1. 

Physical therapy

Our physical therapists can help your child move and function better after illness, injury or disability. They also recommend mobility and adaptive devices, if needed. 

Our physical therapists work with children to:

  • Improve coordination, strength, endurance and range of motion
  • Lessen pain
  • Help them walk or run better
  • Improve balance and/or decrease dizziness

Learn more about our physical therapy services. 

Occupational therapy

Our occupational therapists help your child develop the play, self-care and learning skills they need for school and daily life. 

These include: 

  • Bathing, dressing and eating
  • Fine-motor abilities
  • Hand-eye coordination
  • Focus and social skills

They can also recommend mobility and adaptive devices. Learn more about our occupational therapy services. 

Speech-language pathology

We offer speech-language pathologists who focus on helping children communicate better. They work to improve a child’s speaking, listening and thinking abilities. 

For example, they can help children who:

  • Can’t speak clearly.
  • Find it hard to understand language.
  • Have difficulty putting words together.
  • Have memory and concentration problems.

We also have speech-language therapists who work with newborns and older children who have difficulty feeding, swallowing or chewing. 

They use strategies and therapies that might include: 

  • Strengthening a child’s mouth muscles. 
  • Helping babies and children suck from a bottle or drink from a cup.
  • Helping children feed themselves or try new foods.

Learn more about our speech language pathology services.

Therapy for sports injuries

Our therapists can help your child recover from sports injuries and get back to the playing field safely. Our physical therapists:

  • Work closely with sports medicine doctors, orthopaedic surgeons, concussion specialists and coaches.
  • Use the latest equipment and therapies to help your child rebuild strength, stability and balance.
  • Focus on preventing further injuries.

Learn more about our sports injuries services.

We also offer:

High school athlete program: OHSU works with local high schools to treat, prevent and educate about sports injuries. 

OHSU Sports Concussion Program: Our therapists work closely with OHSU concussion specialists to treat your child. You’ll find the latest treatments and research, plus support groups to help your student return to school and sports. 

Sports and recreation safety: Doernbecher’s Tom Sargent Safety Center offers tips for keeping children safe while taking part in baseball, cheerleading, soccer or other pursuits. 

Pediatric cardiac rehabilitation

We teach children with heart issues how to exercise independently and safely. 

We treat: Children with heart conditions, usually present at birth, who are medically stable. Heart conditions can make children afraid to exercise, contributing to high rates of obesity.

How it works: Children have a stress test to determine their maximum safe heart rate. Then physical therapists develop circuit training routines specific to each child. Children learn what it feels like to have their hearts working at a moderate rate. This gives them the confidence to exercise safely on their own.

Neonatal transition clinic

Preterm babies and infants with complex conditions often spend time in the neonatal intensive care unit. Our therapists help your family make the transition from hospital to home.

Our NICU outpatient follow-up team includes:

  • Speech-language therapists to help with feeding difficulties.
  • An occupational therapist to show you how to handle, hold and position your baby. The therapist will also show you how to track the baby’s development. 
  • A dietitian to assess your baby’s nutritional needs, to develop an eating program, and to track growth.

Schroth Method for scoliosis

We offer children (starting about age 10) and teens with scoliosis (curved spine) one of Oregon’s only physical therapists certified in the Schroth Method.

This effective therapy is based on custom exercises and breathing techniques. 

Other services

  • Cancer rehabilitation: Our therapists can help your child regain abilities and lessen pain during and after cancer treatment. 
  • Hand therapy: Our pediatric therapists treat hand conditions, make splints, and confer with our certified hand therapists when needed. 
  • Neurologic rehabilitation: Our therapists can help your child manage symptoms and improve function after a stroke, or after a brain or spine injury.

For patients

Call 503-494-3151 to:

  • Make an appointment
  • Seek a second opinion
  • Ask questions


Doernbecher Children’s Hospital 
700 S.W. Campus Drive
Portland, OR 97239

Center for Health & Healing, Building 1, first floor
3303 S. Bond Ave.
Portland, OR 97239

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