Many of our clients find it surprising and frustrating that others know so little about plagiocephaly. As a result, many have used their fundraising efforts as an opportunity to raise awareness of plagiocephaly and helmet treatment in their local communities.
One mother in the States who has taken this approach one step further is Abby Blackburn, occupational therapist and mother of Miller, who was undergoing plagiocephaly helmet treatment at the time.
Concerned that there was no children’s literature available to help parents speak to their children about the helmets, she decided to write a book herself. This would answer the questions that her son might one day ask, whilst also helping other parents in the same situation and generally raising awareness of plagiocephaly.
Her book, My Little Blue Helmet, is a question and answer book that she hopes will encourage parents to open the doors of communication and explain to their children why they underwent the treatment as infants.
Why are so few people in the UK aware of plagiocephaly?
Just like in the UK, the American Academy of Pediatrics introduced its ‘Back to Sleep’ campaign in 1992. Although this significantly reduced the incidence of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, the number of babies with plagiocephaly and other flat head syndromes increased dramatically.
Plagiocephaly helmets are considered less controversial in American healthcare than they are in the UK, and treatment is regularly prescribed, as it is in several European countries.
The NHS does not recommend treatment, often citing the lack of definitive positive research as a reason. Sadly, this research, although called for, is not commissioned and the debate continues with parents frequently being disappointed at the resulting head shape after following ‘wait and see’ advice.
Edit: Since this post was written, various studies have confirmed the efficacy of helmet therapy in the treatment of flat head syndrome. These include a large-scale investigation published in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (part of the Journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons), and a longitudinal cohort study in Child’s Nervous System (the official journal of the International Society for Pediatric Neurosurgery).
Plagiocephaly helmets work by gently directing growth into certain areas of the head as the skull grows, resulting in a more even, rounded shape. Combining an easy-clean closed cell foam lining with a semi rigid co-polymer shell, they are comfortable and infants have very few problems when wearing them.
At Technology in Motion, we have over 120 babies in treatment at any one time and our experts are widely regarded as clinical leaders in this form of treatment. We have achieved positive outcomes for a vast number of babies using our unique TiMbandAir corrective treatment, meeting the highest quality of care and safety at all times.