Our Spinal Cord Program

Our spinal cord program is built on the philosophy that with the right combination of therapies, you may be able to recover some degree of sensation, movement, and independence, as well as improved health and quality of life, even many months or years after your injury or diagnosis.

Our medically supervised therapy program uses techniques that have shown great promise in helping people who have chronic spinal cord injuries. 

Tour the International Center for Spinal Cord Injury at Kennedy Krieger Institute

Who We Serve

Our outpatient program welcomes patients of all ages. Our inpatient program provides in-hospital care for children through age 21.

When many people think of spinal cord injuries, they think of a traumatic injury, such as a diving or automobile accident, a gunshot wound, or a fall, paralysis can also be a result of:

  • Vascular malformations events such as arteriovenous malformation (a tangle of blood vessels in or on the brain), spinal cord strokes, or aortic aneurysm (a bulge in the body’s main artery)
  • Demyelinating diseases (diseases that damage the protective covering around nerve fibers), such as transverse myelitis, multiple sclerosis, or acute disseminated encephalomyelitis
  • Infectious diseases that attack the spinal cord, such as meningitis or encephalitis
  • Spinal tumors
  • Complications of spinal surgery
  • Rare neurological conditions such as Guillain-Barre Syndrome (when the immune system attack nerves), neurofibromatosis, adrenoleukodystrophy, ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or Lou Gehrig’s disease), and Friedrich’s ataxia
  • Developmental events such as spina bifida or cerebral palsy

The programs offered at the International Center for Spinal Cord Injury can potentially benefit individuals with paralysis caused by any of these conditions.

One of the first programs for children with paralysis

Our program is one of the first in the world focused on rehabilitation and restoration for children with paralysis.
While most traditional therapy programs are designed for adults and must be modified for children, here we have programs and equipment that have been developed specifically for children and adolescents.

Additionally, the members of our interdisciplinary team have years of experience developing and tailoring treatment plans with the unique physical, developmental, educational, and social needs of children in mind. Our therapists combine recreational and functional activities in order to both motivate your child and improving their skills.

Since our Center treats both children and adults, we can provide your child with a seamless transition of care from pediatric to adult specialists, ensuring your child will continue to receive needed care into adulthood.


Our inpatient program, directed by a physician, will develop a thorough evaluation and treatment program for your child. The program welcomes patients from birth to age 21. We treat acute or chronic spinal cord dysfunction, including those who need ventilator assistance. Based on these initial evaluations, we design an intensive rehabilitation program that is tailored to the unique needs of your child and family. Your child will receive at least four hours of therapy each day.


Our outpatient programs include a medical clinic, therapy program, aquatic therapy program, and a variety of additional services.

The medical clinic focuses on physical health and quality of life. It provides specialized outpatient evaluations, periodic follow-up, and medical management.

In our outpatient therapy program, our team of experts work together to deliver intensive evaluation and activity-based restorative therapy (ABRT) treatment. If appropriate, your therapy program may include both traditional land-based ABRT and aquatic therapy, if appropriate.

In addition to our ABRT program and medical clinic, the Center offers a wide range of specialized medical, therapeutic, and community services to help your achieve your best health and independence.

Clinic hours:
Monday & Thursday: 8 am – 7 pm
Tuesday, Wednesday & Friday: 8 am - 6 pm
Saturday: as needed (no medical appointments)


Long-Term Treatment Options for Spinal Cord Injuries

If you live in or near Baltimore, and can routinely attend our facilities, we recommend ongoing sessions several times per week and medical follow-up periodically.

If you live out of state, the Center has designed a convenient therapy concept. First, you will need to visit the center for at least two weeks of short-term daily therapy. At the end of your treatment, we can provide a customized home rehabilitation program that you can use at home or with a local therapist. We encourage you to return on a regular basis to update your personal rehabilitation program.

Continuum of Care

Kennedy Krieger Institute has a comprehensive Rehabilitation Continuum of Care with extensive experience in providing acute and chronic Neurorehabilitation to our patients. Our specialized treatment team is led by physiatrists. Although we work primarily with people who have chronic spinal cord injuries, the pediatric inpatient facility allows us to begin therapy as soon as a patient is medically stable, maximizing chances fpor recovery. We maintain a close relationship with Johns Hopkins Hospital, which provides our patients with expanded medical and emergency services. In addition, the Continuum is accredited by both CARF and The Joint Commission (formerly JCAHO).

Although we work primarily with people who have chronic spinal cord injuries, the pediatric inpatient facility allows us to begin therapy as soon as a patient is medically stable. This maximizes chances for recovery. We’re close to Johns Hopkins Hospital, which provides expanded medical and emergency services.

Physiatrists and neurologists lead our specialized treatment team in two levels of services.

View our complete list of services