Cerebral Palsy, Mental Health and Psychotropic Medications

This presentation from the 2023 AACPDM Community Forum presents and overview of the interactions between the types of Cerebral Palsy, Mental and Behavioral Health and various medications and strategies to treat challenging mental health disturbances. 

Dr. Heather Riodan – Neurologist

Dr. Heather Riordan is the medical director of the Phelps Center for Cerebral Palsy and Neurodevelopmental Medicine at Kennedy Krieger Institute and is an assistant professor of pediatric neurology at The Johns Hopkins Hospital.  Her clinical interests include the diagnosis of neurogenetic disorders and treatment of spasticity and complex movement disorders, including dystonia and chorea. Dr. Riordan has expertise in botulinum toxin injection, baclofen pump management and deep brain stimulator management.  Her hope is to help her patients more fully participate in the things that make them happy.

Dr. Riordan’s research interests encompass understanding the pathology behind cerebral palsy and complex genetic movement disorders. She is particularly interested in improving constructs of care as well as mental health concerns in these populations.

Dr. Aaron Hauptman – Neuropsychiatrist

Dr. Aaron J. Hauptman is a pediatric and adult neuropsychiatrist and associate director of Neuropsychiatry at Kennedy Krieger Institute in the Department of Psychiatry. He is an assistant professor at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He specializes in working with individuals and their families struggling with the emotional, behavioral and cognitive impact of neurodevelopmental disabilities and acquired brain injuries.

Dr. Hauptman’s work and teaching focus on integrating an understanding of localization-based brain function and neurodevelopment into psychiatric formulation and treatment. This is grounded in his training in general adult psychiatry, child/adolescent psychiatry and neuropsychiatry/behavioral neurology. He has a particular interest in working with patients and their families struggling with neurobehavioral sequelae of cerebral palsy, epilepsy syndromes, neuro-genetic conditions, neurodegenerative diseases and neuroimmunological disorders and other acquired central nervous system injuries. These are tremendously underserved populations and, as such, Dr. Hauptman is dedicated to training the next generation of pediatric neuropsychiatrists and improving access to care for these patients and their families. Dr. Hauptman is grateful to have the opportunity to do such work with the wonderful team at Kennedy Krieger.

When we think about strategies to approaching mental health and individuals with cerebral palsy, we first want to make sure the psychiatric symptoms are not due to an underlying cause like pain, intrathecal, baclofen pump malfunction, shunt malfunction, common things like dental problems, hearing ear infections, things like that.

Dr. Heather Riordan