Seating Goals for a Child with Muscular Dystrophy
Independence of mobility, maintenance of upright posture and reduction of progressive deformity can present great challenges for children with Muscular Dystrophy. By choosing the "right" seating system, we can help children with these problems and improve their quality of life in the following ways:
Delay spine deformity
Scoliosis (curvature of the spine) may worsen once the child becomes wheelchair bound, or stops flexing his/her spine to maintain an upright posture. A mid-line (or straight central) spinal posture support can help delay the development of spinal deformity.
Maximise functional ability
Stable support of the child, in the sitting position, will enable the child to use his/her muscles more effectively.
Comfort does not become critical till the child has difficulty shifting his/her weight when sitting. It is important that the child is comfortable in the seating system.
Maintain quality of life
When the child is comfortably and safely seated, he/she will be better able to participate in school and family activities, thereby improving quality of life.
Maintain independent mobility
A motorised or powered wheelchair/scooter, introduced at an appropriate time, will enable the child to keep up with his/her peers at school.
Parents or caregivers seeking information about seating for children with muscular dystrophy may contact their doctors and physical therapists, or the MDAS.
By Satyaki Sengupta