After contracting meningitis at six weeks old and being admitted to Ipswich Hospital, Scarlett developed sensory processing needs which led to her thrusting her entire body up and down in her bouncy chair repetitively – something she still does five years on.

“It happens when she is tired, especially after school,” says her mother, Charlotte. “It doesn’t look appropriate and unfortunately attracts negative comments from others.”

Another symptom of Scarlett’s condition is the need to seek pressure at night, resulting in her wearing a pair of tights to bed that she puts on her arms. She also likes to wrap herself up in things – rolling herself up in the lounge rug or piling cushions on her head. Her muscle tone is abnormally low and whilst she shows no fear of activities like climbing, she has poor balance and tires quickly.

Clinical specialists
DM Orthotics (DMO) has been designing, manufacturing and distributing made-to-measure dynamic movement orthoses for the last 15 years. Based in the UK, the company exports to 26 countries and has a team of clinical specialists who are experts in managing the effects of neuro-muscular conditions like scoliosis, cerebral palsy, stroke and multiple sclerosis.

“When I assessed Scarlett, I prescribed one of our standard suits to help control the physical symptoms her family described,” says DMO physiotherapist, Holly Nicholson. “The suit is designed to align the shoulders, torso and hips – thereby improving symmetry and helping stabilise her trunk and spine. She is a very sweet little girl who was really good when I saw her.”

Scarlett started wearing her suit most days after school for between 10 and 35 minutes.

“We wanted to establish a routine that would reduce recurrent meltdowns and periods of fidgeting and distress,” says Charlotte. “She needed a lot of encouragement at the beginning but then started asking if she could wear it and wanted to keep it on.”

After almost three months, Scarlett’s behaviour is noticeably different.

“She likes the attention she gets when she’s wearing the suit and is calmer when she’s using her iPad or lying on the sofa,” said her mother. “Sometimes she calms down so much we can go out as a family – something that her behaviour made impossible before. She has more self-awareness and her distress and sensory seeking have become more manageable.

The suit has given her another way of coping. It’s like a miracle.”

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