Children's Hospital Colorado

Movement Disorders

What are movement disorders?

Movement disorders affect the way a child's body moves. These conditions can include too much or too little movement, or coordination problems. 

What causes movement disorders?

Movement disorders may be caused by:

  • Injuries to the brain
  • Genetic or metabolic conditions
  • Medications
  • Inflammatory or autoimmune disorders
  • Prior infections

Signs and symptoms of movement disorders

  • Repetitive eye blinking, facial movements, sniffing, coughing, throat clearing, squeaks, squeals or speech (tics)
  • Jerks of the neck or body (myoclonus)
  • Problems with balance and coordination (ataxia)
  • Uncontrolled jerky movements (chorea)
  • Abnormal twisting postures (dystonia)
  • Rhythmic back and forth motions of a body part (tremor)

How is a movement disorder diagnosed?

Depending on your child's symptoms, diagnostic testing may be arranged before, during or after your visit to Children's Hospital Colorado.

Movement disorders tests may include:

How are movement disorders treated?

The Pediatric Movement Disorders Clinic at Children's Colorado diagnoses, evaluates and treats children with movement disorders. This clinic is broken down into two subspecialty clinics for kids with movement disorders: the Tic, Tone and Tremor Clinic and the Complex Movement Clinic.

About the Tic, Tone and Tremor Clinic

The Tic, Tone and Tremor Clinic was designed for kids who have tics or tremor who are otherwise neurologically normal, or for kids with tone abnormalities due to cerebral palsy. These patients may also be seen in general neurology for an initial evaluation.

Conditions treated at this clinic treat include:

  • Tics
  • Tourette syndrome
  • Repetitive movements in an otherwise normal child
  • Tremor
  • Tone issues (spasticity or dystonia) due to birth-related cerebral palsy
  • Movement disorders thought to be related to streptococcal infections
  • Muscle spasms without weakness
  • Tardive dyskinesia

About the Complex Movement Clinic

The Complex Movement Clinic is a subspecialty clinic for patients with complex movement disorders or complex neurological symptoms with regression. Conditions treated at this clinic treat include:

  • Ataxia
  • Chorea
  • Conversion disorder
  • Dystonia not due to cerebral palsy
  • Huntington disease
  • Metabolic movement disorders (such as neurotransmitter disorders or Glut-1 transporter deficiency syndrome)
  • Myoclonus
  • Rigidity
  • Parkinsonism

Why choose us for treatment of movement disorders?

Children's Colorado is one of the top pediatric hospitals in the country, where your child will be evaluated by a multidisciplinary team of specialists who can provide the most comprehensive care for your child’s movement disorder.

Both subspecialty clinics (Tic, Tone and Tremor Clinic and Complex Movement Clinic) are unique within the Rocky Mountain region because of the expertise and experience of our team. The clinics are headed by one of the few pediatric neurologists in the country with formal training in movement disorders.

In addition, we have a pediatric neurology nurse practitioner with special training in psychosocial medicine, Tourette syndrome and movement disorders. A social worker is also part of our team, providing supportive counseling and assistance in getting resources and support within the community.

Our hospital's location on the Anschutz Medical Campus also affords us the opportunity to collaborate with our Adult Movement Disorders colleagues and the Deep Brain Stimulation Surgery Program at University of Colorado Hospital.

What to do before your visit

During your visit to the Pediatric Movement Disorders Clinic, your child may be videotaped to document abnormal movements as part of his or her medical record and for research purposes. This will help us in making a diagnosis if abnormal movements don't occur during your appointment. If abnormal movements only occur with certain activities, please follow the suggested video protocol (.pdf) for making a video that will be useful for your child's evaluation with us.

Required forms

Before your appointment, please print and complete the movement questionnaire (.pdf) to help us make the best use of your time during the evaluation.

Please fax it ahead of time to 720-777-7196
Attn: Staff Assistant to Dr. Collins

Or please mail it to:
Children's Hospital Colorado
Attn: Complex Movement Coordinator
13123 East 16th Avenue, B155
Aurora, CO 80045

Medical records

We also request that you send a copy of your child's pertinent medical records (unless they are from Children's Colorado; we have access to these) at least two weeks prior to the appointment, or the appointment will be cancelled.

Pertinent medical records include:

  • Notes from your pediatrician, pediatric neurologist, physiatrist, psychiatrist, therapists or school teachers regarding the abnormal movements
  • Imaging studies (CT or MRI); Please bring send a copy of the imaging study on disc for us to review, as well as the radiology report
  • All laboratory study results
  • Electroencephalogram (EEG) results
  • EMG/nerve conduction study results
  • Ophthalmology evaluation
  • Movement or gait analysis evaluation

Contact us

How to schedule an appointment

To schedule an appointment for your child in the Tic, Tone and Tremor Clinic and/or the Complex Movement Clinic, call Neurology at 720-777-6895.

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