Children who cannot stand unaided need to be assisted to do so at regular intervals, for reasons associated with physical and social development. To do this they need a device which supports them while they are upright.
TAD has developed several styles of small standing frames which have become standardized designs, and can be adapted to suit individual children according to the specifications of their therapist.
Two-year old Laine is a happy little boy who lives with his family and their variety of animals in the Southern Highlands of NSW. He has a developmental disability of unknown origin, and one symptom of this is poor muscle tone.
Laine has had one of TAD’s ‘Squirrel’ standing frames for eight months now, which was made by volunteer Bob Jones. The Squirrel is used for children 18 months to 5 years old, who need well-supported upright standing. It consists of a plywood base, vertical posts made of radiata pine and fabric backing made of outdoor furniture mesh, as well as knee and chest straps to hold the child in position.
The Squirrel also has a tray which mounts onto shelf bracket strips that run the length of the outer uprights, making the tray height completely adjustable. The uprights can also be detached using a tri-nut at the base, so the entire unit is demount-able for easy transport and storage.
Laine has reacted very positively to his standing frame, as he likes being upright. Although he is still only young, his parents observe that he doesn’t like to be helped, and they think he enjoys the independence of being able to stand without assistance.
When he first started using the frame, Laine’s feet used to roll around too much, so his therapist made some foot holders. Even these proved too large to stop his feet from sliding out, so his physiotherapist made some very close-fitting molded plastic ‘boots’ which hold his feet securely.
Laine’s physio also added a foam piece which goes between his legs, separating them and keeping his posture correct. TAD’s contract sewer Sandra Brown then made new, narrower knee straps which accommodate the foam piece more effectively.
Laine’s parents found that they needed to move him around the house in the frame, so he could be with the rest of the family and didn’t get bored. The frame was quite heavy to move frequently, so they asked TADNSW to add castors. This project was completed recently by volunteer Bill Jenkins.
Laine also has an adjustable chair that enables him to sit up comfortably at the low table that his brothers and sister play at. Made by TAD volunteer John Pollak, the chair has an adjustable seat, footrest and armrests, as well as a pommel peg, cushions and positioning belts.
In a happy coincidence, although Laine’s family first heard about TAD from Laine’s physiotherapist, they subsequently discovered that the person building the extensions to their house, one Bill Phippen, was the Chairman of that very organisation!