About.com has some thoroughly-researched Guide Sites that have been reviewed by medical doctors who are expert in disabilities such as Cerebral Palsy and Muscular Dystrophy. Follow those links to learn more about the details of those conditions.
This article will highlight the products of one brand in the field of positioning aids for the physical therapy and occupational therapy of children with cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, and various other types of neuromuscular development disabilities.
Parents need a place to go to begin their research; a place where they can begin to wade into the vast sea of knowledge about the disease. After learning about symptoms, the important next step is to put some structure to their search for information. Specifically, how do parents discover what resources are available, and what medical equipment is available, to use with their child? What positioning aids can parents purchase so that their children can enjoy some of the activities of daily living? What specific supplies can parents have on hand for their child's caregiver to use with them as they work through therapy?
Let's look at one brand of positioning equipment that can get parents started.
Tumble Forms 2
Tumble Forms 2, a brand of Patterson Medical, focuses on supportive equipment to help children with special needs get into proper position to accomplish activities such as eating, sleeping, writing, reading, drawing, and toileting.
One of the hallmark features of Tumble Forms 2's products is their antimicrobial properties. In virtually every product they make, regardless of its specific purpose, Tumble Forms 2 products showcase durable foam pads over steel that give structure and strength to the interior of the product, while creating and easy-to-clean antimicrobial surface on the exterior.
Tumble Forms 2 Universal Side Layer
Neurologically impaired children, for their safety, require a lot of attention. What happens when a caregiver or parent needs to leave the room for a few moments? How do you ensure the safety of the child? Tumble Forms 2, as well as other manufacturers, have created what is called a "side layer." It is shaped like a couch, and angled in such a way that when the child lays on it, the base cradles the child. Gravity takes over and helps position the child safely while he or she lays on the foam mattress. The vinyl covering is urine-proof. A quick wipe and it's clean again.
The Side Layer comes with two soft straps to further secure the child and keep her safe. Soft block-shaped pillows can be purchased separately to be used as a headrest or leg positioning.
The Tumble Forms 2 "Tadpole" Pediatric Positioner was designed for an early intervention program. The "Tadpole" or other pediatric positioners are designed for infants with cerebral palsy. The Tadpole can be used and reconfigured in a few ways. The baby can lie on its stomach and practice body extension, raising his head to look at himself in a mirror (included), chest elevation, and forward positioning of arms.
Convert the Tadpole into its seated position and the child benefits from long leg or log roll sitting. The mirror tray converts to a tray positioned over the child's lap for additional support, as well as a surface for eye-hand activities.
The unit also converts to a side layer. Caregivers and parents would help the child into the side layer position to help develop lateral head and body movements.
Universal "Grasshopper" System
Tumble Forms 2 also created a positioning kit that can span the ages of children through adulthood. Their "Grasshopper" System, also antimicrobial to make it easily cleanable, resist odor, and improve durability, can be reconfigured into 17 different forms.
Possible positions include:
- long leg sitting
- log roll sitting
Under the padded base, Tumble Forms 2 included small wheels, caster-size, to make it easier for the caregiver to move the client around while maintaining support.
"Carrie" Seating System
The "Carrie" Seating System was designed to be used:
- At home
- For travel by car
- At school
- For travel by airplane
The "Carrie" seat is a foam-molded seat base and back, much like a traditional child's car seat. This seating system however provides proper pelvic positioning. Optional accessories include an easy-to-clean tray, and a footrest.
A height-adjustable neck stabilizer and an adjustable harness are included with the "Carrie" Seat System.
Figuring out how to manage your child's special needs can feel overwhelming at first. Hopefully this article provides a starting point for learning what equipment is available to enhance the daily living for a child with cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, or other neuromuscular disabilities. Physical therapy and occupational therapy equipment are available, and brands like Tumble Forms 2 offer several product options.