Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s…

19 May

Spider Boy!!!!


This is BC’s new Second Skin body suit.

We like it much better than his old one.

Partlybecause BC likes wearing it more than his old one,  also because it’s much easier to take on and off. But mostly because we can already see it’s making more of a difference to his mobility.

The old suit had seven zips. This one has three. There are no zips at all around the legs. The bottom half of the suit resemble a pair of lycra bicycle shorts – only, there is a cut out section at his groin to make for easy access when he needs to go to the toilet. This means that, unlike his last suit, the suit does not need to be taken off for toileting. Which is great.

The best thing about this is, according to BC, that  like all good super heroes, he gets to wear his undies on the outside ;-).

As you might be able to see in the pic, there is a long zip at the front and zips along both of the arms. There is some boning in the sides of the suit to keep his body straight, but no way near as much as the previous one.

This means the suit is more comfortable for him to wear, which is another reason why he likes it more.

Of course, it also means that since he was fitted for the first suit, he has developed a lot more core strength and balance so they didn’t feel the need for as much support.

As soon as BC puts the suit on, we can see how much straighter he sits (or stands). And we’ve already noticed that his endurance has improved when he walks in his walker with it. He has made the long walk all the way to the shops or back quite a few times in the last month.

And for those who are wondering what it’s like to wear, he dislikes it being put on or taken off (which I think it mostly about him not wanting to lie still for a few minutes!) but he never complains about it while he’s wearing it. I think it’s quite comfortable for him. And he loves showing it to people.

BC chose his Spiderman design from the big book full of designs that they have. I love it, and it has a particular significance because when we are at home, BC’s main way to get around the house is to walk ‘along’ the walls (holding to walls for support and side stepping). We call this his spider walking. So now he really IS Spiderboy.

BC wears the suit 6-8 hours a day, 5 days a week (weekends are off).  It’s taken off for naps (not that we get many of those any more!) or if he’s not feeling well.

The Second Skin people are lovely. The process of getting the suit involved two steps. The first step was an assessment, where they observed BC at play, taking note of his movement and balance and the areas that need most support and ‘guidance’ (to encourage correct movement).  At this appointment, they also took very thorough measurements, as each suit is uniquely made.

Around 4 weeks later, the suit was ready for collection. At this appointment, BC tried the suit on and we checked for any possible problems. They also gave us a little booklet with suggested activities to maximise benefits of wearing the suit (mostly the involve him standing up to play, at a table rather than playing on the floor).

We got a follow up phone call just the other day to check how the suit is going and we’ll have a follow up appointment in about 6 months to make sure the suit is still fitting and fulfilling its purpose.

The only downside to the suits is the cost. They are expensive. Around $1500. Thanks so much to the Lions Club for funding BC’s suit!!! I don’t think we could have afforded it ourselves. The other downside to the suit is that given children grow so fast, they are only wearable for 12-18 months. There are seams that can be unstitched and extra panels to add it to extend the life, but there’s not much you can do to stop children from growing! We still have BC’s old suit and I’m not sure if there’s anything we can do with it, given that it was uniquely designed for him. It seems like a real waste as it still has a lot of life left in it.

If you want to know more, here’s the link to the Second Skin website and of course I am happy to answer any other questions anyone might have about them.

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10 Responses to “Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s…”

  1. Belinda May 20, 2009 at 11:03 am #

    Di, that is gold! Spiderboy for sure!

    No wonder he loves it! His photo is fantastic and I really look foward to seeing you all again!
    He is soooo handsome!

  2. Barbara May 22, 2009 at 3:20 am #

    Thanks for posting this. Compression garments can have many positive effects. While braces on the feet and ankles have become accepted as common, therapeutic garments are just beginning to be understood and purchased.

  3. Sensei Rich May 22, 2009 at 6:58 am #

    That is very cool… Never knew there was such a thing for kids like this… Very very cool! :-)

  4. Sarah May 23, 2009 at 5:55 am #

    How cool is that! Great photo!

  5. Kara Sharp May 24, 2009 at 8:04 am #

    I’m so excited for BC’s new suit! It looks great and how fun that it’s Spiderboy! Thank you for writing about it, I read about his first suit and was very curious. I went to the website to read a bit about it. How old was BC when he got his first suit and how long did he wear it for? Did he wear it before he started using his walker? You mentioned this new suit will fit for 12-18 months, will he wear it 5 days a week, etc until he outgrows it? Does it build the core strength or mainly help with balance and coordination? So many questions, I know! Thanks for answering them when you have a chance.

  6. Alison May 24, 2009 at 11:49 am #

    The suit looks fantastic. I’m going to check out that website!

  7. n0thingbuteverything May 24, 2009 at 9:46 pm #

    Thanks for all the lovely comments.

    Kara, BC got his first suit about 18 months ago (when he was 3 years old). He outgrew that one fairly quickly, because unfortunately he had a MAJOR growth spurt not long after getting it. It was good for about 9 months. He already had his walker at this stage (he started using his walker when he was 2). He will wear the suit 5 days a week until he outgrows it, yes. Then we will meet with the Second Skin team and look at a new suit. And YES, it builds core strength because it is designed to position his limbs and muscles in certain positions, so he can achieve a wider range of functions. By giving him this extra ability, he’s using more of his core muscles and as a result hopefully building them up ;-).

  8. n0thingbuteverything May 24, 2009 at 9:52 pm #

    Almost forgot, for more information, I’d also suggest that you google ‘lycra dynamic splinting’. You will come up with some interesting articles and research out of the UK.

  9. Kara Sharp June 2, 2009 at 11:20 am #

    Thanks for responding to my questions. I have spoken to our PT about the suit, he is interested. Although getting something like this in Egypt would not happen…but collecting research and knowledge about these different therapies is so helpful to me for when Sebastian is a bit older and can benefit from them.


  1. Second Skin Review « N0thingbuteverything’s Weblog - October 17, 2009

    [...] As I’ve written before, we love this suit. MUCH more so than his first suit (as in his first Second Skin suit, compared to his second Second Skin suit ) [...]

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