Arya and Eiley will soon be sporting some new head wear. Their pediatrician kept saying that their heads were round and perfect and I kept telling her they weren't. Our appointment yesterday was to have them evaluated to see if they need a cranial band/helmet. The cranial bands will help guide their heads back into a more symmetrical shape.
Arya has plagiocephaly. It's hard to see in pictures, but if you look down at the top of her head, it's shaped like a parallelogram. She had torticollis (tort) as a newborn. Basically, her head was smashed into my pelvis for a long time during the pregnancy and she was not able to move her neck around. This caused the tort, which is tightening in the neck muscles. She could only turn her head to the right when she was born. We did stretching exercises with her and repositioning to try to avoid flattening. We were somewhat successful. Her tort went away and she has full range of motion in her neck, but the damage was done to her head. Her right ear is further forward than her left as is the whole right side of her face. The helmet should gently guide her head as it grows, resulting in the left and right side being more uniform. Her head won't ever be perfect, but no one's is. Some studies have shown that children with plagiocephaly are more prone to ADD, especially when it is untreated because of the shift in the ears.
Eiley has scaphocephaly. The ratio of her head's length to width is out of the acceptable norm. Because of the length, she was and still is unable to lay flat on her back without turning her head. If she tries to lay flat, her chin tucks and she can't breath correctly. She has developed flat spots on both sides of her head. Her head shape will be harder to correct, but if left untreated it would cause less ongoing medical issues. While Arya has to have a helmet, we have been informed that Eiley's helmeting is somewhat optional. While we should have it fixed, I was told that some parents in our situation decide, due to financial reasons, to helmet the more severe child. We have decided that we will helmet both. I would hate to look back a few years from now, when it would be too late to do anything, and wish we had helped her head grow into a more standard shape. Because Eiley's generation is sleeping on their backs as infants, their heads will be a little flatter in the back and wider. Eiley's head is extremely narrow and long. Helmets for biking, skateboarding, hockey etc. are built around standard head shapes. Eiley would more than likely have a very hard time finding any helmet that fit correctly because her head shape is currently outside of those standards.
As a parent, we want to do everything possible to raise happy, healthy, self confident children. Their head shapes are clearly different from those of their peers right now. Cranial bands are costly, but we feel they are worth the financial burden to ensure we do not have any "what ifs" in the future.
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