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Spina Bifida Clinic

The Spina Bifida clinic at McMaster Children’s Hospital (MCH) provides parents and caregivers “care coordination” and education to maximize the overall health, functioning and independence of your child. Care coordination means that we will connect your family to hospital and community services that may be beneficial for your child. The Spina Bifida clinic is associated with many other clinics at MCH. We work with these clinics to provide the most holistic care for your child.

Care We Provide

Assessment: Your child’s height, weight and blood pressure will be measured, and for younger children, their head circumference. The team will also ask questions about your child’s health, daily life and functioning. The team will look at how your child moves, assess their joints and review any equipment they usually use.

Education: The team will provide education about Spina Bifida issues, including mobility and walking, skin care, school performance and your child’s journey through adolescence into adulthood.

Care Coordination:

  • Referrals to other health professionals or specialty clinics, such as the urology clinic, neurosurgery clinic, orthopedic surgery clinic, and prosthetics and orthotics clinic.
  • Connecting you with your local Children’s Treatment Centre
  • Connecting you with a local family doctor or pediatrician if needed
  • Funding applications

You and your child will be given the opportunity to ask any questions you have about your child’s development, participation or health.

Team Members

As a parent/caregiver, you are the expert on your child and an important part of the team! The rest of your team includes:

  • A developmental pediatrician who follows your child’s growth and development with the goal of helping your child to achieve their best life.
  • A physiatrist who will help improve your child’s function through medications, physical therapy, orthotic devices, advocacy, and environmental modifications.
  • A registered practical nurse (clinic coordinator) who coordinates your child’s care among all members of the team and is the main contact person.
  • An occupational therapist who will help your child manage everyday activities at home and the community (such as dressing, bathing, printing, recreation, and employment).
  • A physiotherapist who will assess your child’s movement and function, advise on exercise and orthotics and connect with your child’s community therapists.

What to Bring

  • Ontario Health Insurance Card (OHIP)
  • a list of current medications and medications previously used, including dose/frequency. Some families find it helpful to ask for a medication list “print out” from their pharmacist.
  • loose fitting clothing to make the physical assessment easier
  • any orthotics (braces) or other equipment normally used, to be reviewed with team


How often will my child visit the clinic?

Most children will be booked yearly, however children under 2 years of age may be seen every 3-6 months.

How do I cancel or reschedule an appointment?

If you need to cancel within a week of the appointment, please call 905-521-2100 ext. 44446.

If you need to reschedule the appointment, please call 905-521-2100 ext. 47575.

Up to what age will you see my child?

We see children until they are 18 years old.

Eligibility and Referrals

New patients will be contacted by phone and mailed a letter with the date and time of their first appointment. Patients can book follow-up appointments by calling 905 521 2100 ext 47575.

Referral Form