11 Function and Mobility Aids for Children With SMA

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by Wendy Henderson |

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As a child’s spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) progresses, they may need special equipment to help make life easier for them and their caregivers. Function and mobility aids can help with maintaining a patient’s independence, allowing them to participate in everyday activities.

Here are some of the aids that children with SMA may find useful according to Cure SMA.

Car Beds

Car beds allow small children and babies with type 1 SMA to lie down comfortably in the car without needing to be strapped into an infant car seat which may cause breathing difficulties.

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Cough-Assist Machines

Excess mucus in the lungs can lead to infections that are extremely dangerous for children with SMA. A cough-assist machine forces air in and out of the lungs provoking a cough which helps to clear excess mucus off the chest.

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Depending on the severity of the disease, children with SMA may need various types of braces. Leg braces can help stabilize the legs when walking and provide support and back braces can be used to help keep the spine straight to prevent curvature.

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Modified Vests

When a child has outgrown a car bed, they can use an E-Z-ON modified vest which allows them to safely lie across the back seat of the car while traveling.

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Bath Chairs

As children get older and heavier, caregivers may find it easier to bathe their children using a bath chair. The bath chairs are adjustable and can be positioned in different angles to making washing easier.

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Feeder Seats

Portable feeder seats are foam seats which can be used in any environment. The child can be secured in the seat so they can join the rest of the family at the table.

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Standers help children stand while being supported. Standing has many benefits for children with SMA as it helps with digestion, breathing, circulation, and promotes bone strength.

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BiPAP Machine

A Bi-Positive Airway Pressure machine can be used to help children breathe. Some children may only need a BiPAP at night, whereas others may need to use one continuously.

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Pulse Oximeter

It’s essential that caregivers know their child’s blood oxygen levels. This device clips onto the child’s finger and measures the pulse oximetry, alerting the caregiver if the child needs help with coughing or needs additional oxygen.

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Electric Wheelchairs/Adaptive Strollers

Depending on the age of the child, an adaptive stroller or an electric wheelchair will be required for Type 1 and type 2 SMA patients. The wheelchairs and strollers have customized controls and can be fitted with essential medical equipment.

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Other Technology

Technology can help children with SMA participate in games, class lessons, play on the computer, control other electronic devices, and draw and write.

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SMA News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.