PVC Gym & Resistance Bands
The family of this little guy had a PVC gym made for him. We added resistance bands to help support his arms. With a diagnosis of spinal muscular atrophy I (SMA I), he needed a bit of help to hold up his arms because his muscles are not yet strong enough to get there on his own. This simple structure lets him play with toys in ways that he previously couldn’t!
Children with other movement challenges can benefit from a set-up like this too. Feel free to reach out if you’d like further information on this piece of equipment, or other options that may help your child realise their right to play too!
Prone (against the tummy) standers are a standing aid that supports one’s body weight while also supporting the trunk. With the body supported, kids with movement concerns can reduce the energy spent on balance and weight bearing, and can free up their arms to play. In this picture, a custom-measured stander is made out of ply wood and leatherette with simple strapping. She is not yet able to stand on her own, but the support of the stander lets her stay upright and be at eye-level with her toys. Measurements are really important when designing standers and there needs to be an anti-tip mechanism for safety. Feel free to reach out with any questions about these.
This adapted garment allows children with movement limitations to raise their arms against gravity. Developed at the University of Delaware’s Movement to Learn Laboratory, the Playskin LiftTM has immediate effects on the child’s arm mobility, which can increase participation in play, exploration, and even self-care activities like feeding. It may even promote strength and motion when off. We were able to use this little guy’s own long-sleeved t-shirt to make his Playskin LiftTM, following the how-to guide available at https://cpb-us-w2.wpmucdn.com/sites.udel.edu/dist/a/3635/files/2015/07/Playskin_Lift_DIY_Manual.pdf
All materials except the music wire were sourced locally in Trinidad, and the process of making the garment was relatively simple. The most rewarding part of this project was seeing the little guy’s face when he realised his arm was raised. He was in awe! Such a magical moment facilitated by the amazing work being done by therapists across the globe.
Lobo, M. A., Koshy, J., Hall, M. L., Erol, O., Cao, H., Buckley, J. M., Galloway, J. C., & Higginson, J. (2016). Playskin Lift: Development and initial testing of an exoskeletal garment to assist upper extremity mobility and function. Physical Therapy, 96(3), 390–399. https://doi.org/10.2522/ptj.20140540
Tummy Time Adapted Swing
This adapted swing was designed for this little guy with developing head and neck control. Using the Danmar Hensigner Head Support, we were able to make sure that his head is well protected and supported, while still allowing for movement. The adjustable straps let us increase or decrease how much weight he has to place on his shoulders and hips. In this position, he can move his muscles in a number of ways to work on strengthening, and he can engage well with his toys and others!