I love discovering new equipment and learning alternative ways of managing conditions, so every year when the Kidz to Adultz Middle exhibition comes to Coventry I am desperate to go. This year the dates finally worked in my favour and I was able to spend the day there with Toby, his mother and sister.
The Kidz to Adultz Middle exhibition showcases the latest support available for children and adults up to 25 with disabilities, their families and professionals involved in their care. Having worked with children with disabilities in my role as a Physiotherapist and as a carer over the past 4 years, I am acutely aware of the daily struggles they face with activities that you and me think nothing of; standing up, moving to a different position, eating, drinking, leaving the house. Exhibitions like this enhance my practice and encourage me to think outside of the box to make these tasks simpler for families.
I was instantly drawn to the Medimotion stand, which had the MOTOmed Viva2 on display. I have used the MOTOmed previously when working in an acute hospital setting for early rehabilitation in the Intensive Care setting, as well as in Stroke Rehabilitation and Paediatrics and found them to be excellent in relaxing muscles and activating muscles that have been inhibited by spasticity.
I have been interested to know how Toby would react to using the MOTOmed and he too was keen to give it a go. Initially we had him working passively on the bike and instantly his arms, which are particularly tight at the moment, relaxed down to rest on the arms of his chair. Once Toby was used to the motion, we changed the setting from passive to active so now Toby would have to push the pedals round himself. Toby has a trike at home that we go out on often and he regularly tries to speed off without me. However, due to cumbersome nature of the trike, he hasn’t quite enough strength to get it moving continually himself. To our delight, without the excess weight of the trike, Toby cycled himself for over one mile! The Viva2 suited Toby so well; he enjoyed moving himself independently and it has a function that works with his spasms rather than against them. Toby had only a couple of spasms during the session but these were detected by the Viva2 and it alternated the direction of the pedals whilst it eased. Another aspect I found particularly interesting was the biofeedback monitor. When cycling actively Toby was initially very dominant in his left leg, however upon me correcting the alignment of his right leg the biofeedback showed Toby’s power being distributed equally. This is something for me to bear in mind for other activities.
The other stand I was especially interested in was Baffin. They had on display the Baffin TRIO™; a standing frame that moves from a chair position to standing as well as having the function to lie supine. This piece of equipment is one I have been looking into recently as an option for positioning in the home setting. If you consider your home, finding space for one wheelchair would probably be a struggle. Equipment for children with disabilities can amount to up to two chairs (indoor and outdoor chair), standing frame, hoisting equipment, bathing equipment and through floor lifts. The advantages of the Baffin Trio with its Second Spine Technology mean that the standing frame doubles as an inside chair. Standing is so crucial for everyone, especially non ambulant children. I am yet to see one in action, but reading has suggested that the postural support and pressure relief given by these standing frames is as good as a standard standing frame.
Kidz to Adultz Middle has fuelled my inspiration for improving therapy provision for children with disabilities within Excellence Physiotherapy and has given me some real food for thought regarding management of different conditions. For now, though, I’ll be improving my own fitness in preparation for a summer of taking Toby on long rides on his trike!