Hi Parents!

Here parents of children with Cerebral Palsy can post questions about caring for their child and get advice on special needs and care.

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Posts: 3
Joined: Fri Feb 24, 2012 6:21 am

Hi Parents!

Postby TD12 » Fri Feb 24, 2012 6:46 am

Dear parents,
Thank you for taking the time to read my post! I am a management student at University of Sheffield currently working with some mechanical engineering students to develop a sporting aid for a young girl called Katie with severe cerebral palsy.
As I'm sure you are all aware, swimming can have some incredible benefits for people with Cerebral Palsy... It can alleviate the stress gravity places on muscles, help with co-ordination development, increase blood and nervous system development, increase muscle strength and most importantly.... its great fun!
We are currently developing a float system which supports people with Cerebral Palsy safely in the water, similar to a life-jacket but with a float beneath the head as well, allowing the user to lie horizontal in the water. As you might already be aware, there are products similar to this already on the market. Our product is unique in three ways however...

1. It it heated, offering genuine warmth around the torso to the user - Helping alleviate the muscle stiffness and the increased spasticity of muscles which can occur in cold water causing potential health risks.
2. It has Detachable buoyancy aids - Inflatable aids around the torso which can be removed or added depending on the strength or capability of the user - It can be used by swimmers of all ability.
3. It is fully adjustable - The User will not grow out of it over a period of time - It will fit all ages and sizes.

We are in the early stages of developing this product and would really appreciate some thoughts or feedback from you... as you are the people who know best!
The sorts of questions we would love you to be able to answer for us are:

- Would your child be willing to try the product?
- Do you think the product would benefit your child's athletic ability?
- Can you think of any practical issues we may have over-looked?
- Would you purchase the product yourself? Or would you use it / rent it if the service was available from your local pool? Alternatively, would you suggest that your child's school purchase one?
- Would your child enjoy the experience?

If it is at all possible for you to give us any form of feedback (positive or negative) or answer any of the questions above we would be incredibly thankful! Thank you so much for taking the time to read this post.

Kind Regards
Last edited by TD12 on Tue Mar 06, 2012 4:44 am, edited 1 time in total.

Posts: 1
Joined: Mon Mar 05, 2012 2:25 pm

Re: Hi Parents!

Postby CPmom » Mon Mar 05, 2012 4:33 pm

I might be willing to try this with my son. I'd have to get a little more information first though. Obviously I don't want there to be any electrocution risk if it's heated. Also, I would want my son to be able to have a pretty good range of motion in the water so he can move toward developing the ability to swim himself. I would probably rent such a device if it were available. Whether or not I would buy it would be cost dependent. I honestly think my son would enjoy it. He would probably go through a period of being apprehensive, but would ultimately like it. It would be great from the perspective of a parent. Right now, when I take my son to the pool, it takes a lot of strength to hold onto him and keep his head up. We tried one of the life vests with the head flotation, but he could still spin around and get face-down in it.

Posts: 3
Joined: Fri Feb 24, 2012 6:21 am

Re: Hi Parents!

Postby TD12 » Tue Mar 06, 2012 4:43 am

Hi CPmom!

Thank you so much for your reply, this is of massive help... Of course safety is our number one priority with the product and we are developing a system whereby the thermal capabilities will be completely safe. We are currently drawing up final designs and specifications for the product and I will be keeping the forum updated of our progress, so if you wouldn't mind we would be incredibly grateful for any future thoughts you might have!

Thanks again!