Made of Gray

That Sweet Head of Hers

Holly D Gray5 Comments
Caleigh's head positioning is something that I think about daily. This is something that we have been working on from the beginning. I've posted about it here on several occasions. Caleigh's head is usually down and leaning to the left. 

It's visual, it's sensory related, it's a learned habit and she doesn't do it all the time. It is what it is.
MAYheadJust in the last 6-8 months Caleigh has really started to mouth things. Her progress with all of her equipment slowed to a stand still due to her licking and chewing. She would just hang out and chew. Her day would be complete and she could care less about anything else except that sensory input. Sure, she could hold her head up nice and straight, but why would she if she can get that wonderful sensation from mouthing what's right below her?

We've talked about it with her. She says "feels nice," "good" and "I feel happy."

Why would I want to take away what makes her feel happy?

All of her equipment has a chest harness, and that is what she chews and licks on because it's easier than making her arms and hands cooperate. My major concern with this came when her habit of mouthing things carried itself to our van. I drive around praying we don't get in a wreck because her head is almost constantly down chewing and licking the harness in front of her. When her favorite songs come on the radio she perks up and sits up straight. I feel like the head lift DJ everywhere we go; trying to find the perfect song that makes her hold her head up. It worries me. So when this all started happening I began ordering neck collars to support her head while we are in the van.
We ordered and returned several rejects before finding one that would work with her car seat, and allow her head to be safely back against the head rest at the same time.

This neck ring is made by Danmar and it's called a swirl collar. The listing talks about allowing the user to still be able to move which was a bonus in our case. Caleigh moves a lot and she likes to be able to lean her head to the side. I called and talked to the company about the product just to make sure it would possibly work. They were extremely helpful, and even offered a custom neck collar if the standard, off the shelf version, didn't work out.
I can't tell everyone enough how much I just love this collar. It took a little bit for Caleigh to get used to wearing it. The collar basically sits on her chin, sternum and collar bones. The area at her neck doesn't have any material touching it. It's soft, and easy to clean. Caleigh can still hold her head down and turn from side to side. Eventually, we may look into a custom version, but this one really seems to be working.

Caleigh's doesn't mind it at all. She says that she likes it and that it helps her when her head is tired. I was thinking it would be a hard transition taking away the mouthing but she's done well with it. We've added in extra oral motor time for her as well.

It's allowed her to use her stander more appropriately. She's finally taking steps in her walker again. It gives her a chance to interact with what's going on around her instead of going to her comfort zone. Most importantly she's safer in our vehicle. As strange as it may look fashion wise, it's a keeper.

If anyone needs a neck model for accident and injury lawyer commercials.....our girl is open to reasonable offers....
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