Rarely do I come across something that absolutely blows my mind and leaves me in a state of awe. As some know, my youngest Son Hurricane was born with a Congenital Cranial Malformation called Plagiocephaly and Torticollis. There are other medical conditions that could require infants, children or adults to benefit from the use of a cranial helmet as well.
In a Nutshell, Plagiocephaly is a condition where there is flattening of a babys head. Often when there is a flat spot on a babys head, the head will have a protrusion on the other side of the head. Plagiocephaly can have effects on the head beyond just the shape of the head which can include dental structure, ear concerns, ocular concerns or any number of other concerns. Torticollis is a condition where the babys neck muscle is short on one side causing the babys head to be tipped/turned/tilted abnormally. Torticollis and Plagiocephaly go hand in hand.
When Hurricane was delivered we heard all kinds of scary terms being thrown around the operating room like “Malformed” “Deformities” and it was very upsetting because I/We couldn’t see what was happening. Once we were able to see what was going on we were told that Hurricanes head was malformed as a result of Eclipse (Baby B) being positioned in the Frank Breach position and sitting on the back of his head from 22 weeks and on during the pregnancy. We weren’t given terminology for his head being misshapen. Around 3 weeks old while going thru photos of Hurricane on the computer I noticed he was always in the same position and I thought it was peculiar. I began trying to gently turn his head and his range of motion was very limited and it seemed like his head had an “AutoReturn” because his head always immediately returned back to the same position. We ended up seeing a specialist at Phoenix Children’s Hospital and going thru Physical Therapy from about 6 weeks old to 8 months old. I was told to avoid laying him on his head, so I held him all the time in addition to his Physical Therapy and his at home therapy. He was a candidate for a Cranial Orthotic Helmet. This idea was something that really bothered me because I knew people would stare at him and wonder what was “wrong” with him and I didn’t want my child to experience that type of thing regardless of whether he was capable of remembering it or not. In the long run he ended up not needing to be fitted for a helmet but we still continue with the stretching to help maintain a good range of motion for him.
Today a friend shared something with me on Facebook that I thought was absolutely amazing and think every parent facing the possibility of having their child needing an orthotic helmet should know about. Her name is Paula Strawn of Lazardo Art. She is an absolutely amazing artist with talent that is truly, just Wow. You really must see what she is doing to truly appreciate her work. Not only is her artwork beautiful, vibrant…did I say amazing already? But she isn’t limited to just painting helmets, she also paints other medical devices such as Leg Braces too. With talent like hers, the sky really is the limit. What better way to take a clinical looking device and personalizing it. She has been doing this for 12 years now and has painted somewhere in the range of 1300 helmets. Her turn around time is exceptional as well. Knowing the sensitive nature of cranial formation, she is able to receive the helmet, paint it and have it returned to the family in just 2-3 days. That is a sign of a truly talented artist.