Chin Support for a 21-year-old with Cerebral Palsy

Individuals who cannot hold their heads upright for extended periods of time can develop a condition called "Kyphosis," (Greek - kyphos, a hump) also called "hunch-back," is a common condition of a curvature of the upper (thoracic) spine. It can be the result of a structural, muscular abnormalty in the spine.   The condition can cause severe discomfort and, in some cases, death.  Surgery can be utilized as a method of treatment but this procedure requires a long recuperation period. Therefore, taking a proactive approach, such as providing head support, for these individiduals may alleviate future medical requirements.

In one such instance, a 21 year old man, afflicted with cerebral palsy, required such head support.  What made this situation different is the fact that this individual controls his wheelchair with head movements.  Thus, an inquest was made regarding creating a method or instrument that would provide both head support and flexibility so as not to limit the individual's ability to retain the mobility of his wheelchair.

Students, working with the assistance of Hanger Prosthetics and Orthotics, developed three potential instruments: a neck brace, a chin strap and a chin table.  The options were then presented to the young man for his review and analysis. The chin strap proves to provide him with the support he needs, while enabling him to retain use of his wheelchair.

Student Participants and Affiliations:

Elizabeth DiBona, University of Hartford
Meghan Hegarty, University of Hartford
Lina Rincon, University of Hartford
Darrah Speiser, University of Hartford