Dr. McLaughlin's research program is aimed at developing better treatments for persons with cerebral palsy and other disabilities. This includes studies of the long-term effects of selective dorsal rhizotomy and continuous intrathecal baclofen using an implantable pump. Dr. McLaughlin is involved in studies of the incidence of pain and fatigue in persons with cerebral palsy and in developing outcome measures for quality of life.
Dr. McLaughlin serves as the Director of the Neurodevelopmental Program at Seattle Children's as well as the Director of the Clinical Training Unit at the Center on Human Development and Disability (CHDD), University of Washington. He is the principal investigator of the Leadership Education for Neurodevelopmental Disabilities interdisciplinary training grant funded by the Maternal and Child Health Bureau at CHDD. He is involved in several national committees, including the Data and Safety Monitoring Committee for Management of Myelomeningocele Study at the NICHD. He is a member of the NIH Task Force on Childhood Motor Disorders at the NINDS. He is past president and a member of the Therapy Outcomes Committee of the American Academy for Cerebral Palsy and Developmental Medicine.
His clinical work in developmental pediatrics at the Child Development Clinic, CHDD, the Neurodevelopmental Clinic and Spasticity Management Clinic, and in the Alaska Outreach Clinics.