The Super Suit
I believe every parent is constantly searching for the best for their child, no matter what it is. Special needs parents should have a PhD in cure research as we spend most of our "spare" time looking for anything that will help our children that little bit more.
Among my many hours of research, I stumbled across the Mollii Suit. An odd looking tight, black suit with a computer on the front and little white wires. I was curious what this set up was meant to achieve but it seemed popular with cerebral palsy patients so I figured it was worth looking into.
The Mollii Suit was first developed in Sweden by Inerventions and has been used in many therapy centres across Europe since 2012. The suit was only introduced in Australia in 2017 so it is still a new form of intervention here.
The main concept of the suit is to reduce spasticity and awaken unused muscles or retraining the brain by way of electrotherapy. The Mollii Suit is individually adapted so it can target specific muscles for each patient. The control unit which easily detaches from the suit sends electrical signals to the nervous system via electrodes embedded in the suit.
Harlie was fortunate enough to be invited for a free trial of the suit. My expectations were low as it was only a 1 hour trial. In my experience, you can't see life changing results in 1 hour of therapy. I was, however, assured I would see small changes by the end of the trial. I was skeptical. With the suit on and individually programmed, Harlie sat on the floor and played with dolls. After 15 minutes of wearing the suit, the therapist asked Harlie to lay down so he could check the progress on her left arm as she still has some spasticity in her shoulder inhibiting her from bringing her arm completely over her head while keeping it straight. He moved her arm quite freely but I still wasn't convinced. I asked if I could try moving her arm myself. Oh. My. Goodness. As I moved her arm above her head, I burst into tears. Her arm felt 100% free of spasticity. It felt very much like her legs did straight after SDR surgery.
We sat back and watched Harlie for a while longer and I noticed something different about her. Silence bothers her so she needs constant chatter and reassurance that someone is near her. She also struggles to sit alone with a quiet activity for any period of time. Yet here she was, happily sitting alone with a colouring in book. What's more, she was able to sit with almost perfect posture, holding a pencil and a book at the same time. She would normally need one hand to support herself or find it very difficult to sit straight and would roll her back in an attempt to prevent a fall. I mentioned to the therapist that she seemed more relaxed than I have ever seen her and he confirmed this was common amoungst users to feel a sense of calm throughout their whole body as their muscles are totally relaxed. This means the suit has been useful combating not only spasticity, but chronic pain sufferers and even anxiety.
By the end of Harlie's 1 hour trial, she was able to stand in her walker without holding on for 3 seconds. I could not believe the change in her entire body in one little hour. Imagine what a month or 2 would do?
The suit has been used by those with cerebral palsy, spinal cord injuries, stroke sufferers and they are furthering investigations after successful trials in 2016 for improved mobility for MS sufferers. The suit can be used by children and adults alike but here's the best part; the suit can be used at home! It is possibly the most effective and convenient therapy I have found in 7 years. As the suit is only programmed once every year, the suit can be used at home just one hour every 2 days. This small amount of use has a huge impact on mobility. The suit is comfortable with no complaints at all from Harlie. In fact, she liked it so much she renamed it her "Super Suit."
Since Harlie's trial of the "Super Suit" was a grand success, I am now hoping to raise enough funds to purchase the suit for her. It comes at a price of $15,000 so if you are able to help contribute to Harlie's Super Suit, head over to our donate page for ways to help.