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.