Can my child benefit from using an Orthotic Garment System?

shutterstock_187829600-300x200As the temperature starts to drop, and everyone starts to wrap up to keep warm, I thought I would stimulate some thought provoking ideas by highlighting a brilliant therapy tool that I use for children with decreased muscle tone. This is carrying on from my last newsletter where I discussed the concept of Diagnosis ≠ Prognosis, but ratherDiagnosis + Intensive Early Intervention = Outcomes surpassing the predicted Prognosis. For those of you who have missed last month’s newsletter, and would like a copy of it, reach out and contact our practice for it.

I have many babies and children whom I see with the diagnosis of hypotonia (low muscle tone) as a result of various diagnosis including Cerebral Palsy, Downs Syndrome, Undiagnosed Developmental Delay, and rare genetic conditions. The question to ask yourself is: Can my child benefit from using an Orthotic Garment System?

Orthotic Garment Systems – A Game Changer!
Orthotic garment systems are dynamic orthoses, which work on the principal of providing sensorimotor input, improving postural alignment and stability while allowing active movement skill training. Orthotic garment systems are used very effectively in conjunction with physiotherapy to treat low muscle tone, decreased core strength and poor truck control, as well as correcting flexible scoliosis, excessive hip rotation and knee hyperextension. Orthotic garment systems are worn discreetly under the child’s clothing, and the time spent wearing the orthotic garment system is increased gradually over time.

Orthotic Garment Systems are effective for the following conditions:

  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Muscular Dystrophy
  • Downs Syndrome
  • Hypotonia, Hypermobility disorders
  • Developmental Delay
  • Postural scoliosis
  • Flexible spinal kyphosis
  • In-toeing, out-toeing or windblown gait
  • Flexible foot pronation or supination
  • Foot drop

There is a wide range of orthotic garment system available in the market, and each system has different features and costs. As each child is an individual and has different needs, it is important when purchasing any orthotic garment system that a multiple of factors are carefully considered before you decide.

The children whom I have used Orthotic Garment Systems with have certainly made faster gains in their core strength, trunk control, balance and coordination, and ultimately achieved their gross motor milestones earlier than predicted.

Orthotic Garment Systems are not Weighted Clothing!
I have seen families who mistake suits that their child have been offered or trialed with other therapists as Orthotic Garment Systems, when actually what they have are Weighted Clothing. Weighted Clothing are simply clothes such as vests or belts which have various size weights sewn in to the clothing. The purpose of Weighted Clothing is for sensory input and to provide a calming effect for some children who need and benefit from deep pressure input. Weighted Clothing are not designed to provide resistance to functional movement or correction of muscle pull in functional movement. However, Orthotic Garment Systems are made from a combination of Lycra fabrics or use of resistance straps, so they do provide some deep pressure sensory input which is beneficial to the children who require deep pressure input to calm them. This is only a secondary benefit of Orthotic Garment Systems.

At My Favourite Physio, we have expert experience in using Theratogs, DMO and Second Skins.Based on our individualised assessment of each child, a recommendation is made for the appropriate orthotic garment system. Each system is used in conjunction with ongoing physiotherapy intervention to maximise the benefits of our treatment program. Orthotic garment systems are customised to each child so that we focus on the specific areas and positions of strengthening and support required.

The Orthotic garment systems prescribed by My Favourite Physio are customised to each individual, and direct from licenced distributors. Each orthotic garment orthoses would allow for growth over a period of 9-12 months. The support, re-alignment and sensorimotor input achieved when wearing orthotic garment systems will increase core muscle strength and stability to allow exponential gains in gross motor skills and goal attainment.

So now you know what Orthotic Garment Systems are, Do you think your child can benefit from using one? To find out more about how Orthotic Garment Systems can help your child, call our practice on 02 9790 4233 to speak to our Paediatric Physiotherapist today!