Advice to family members

It is important to ensure that you are aware of the needs and requirements of an infant or adult with a restricted growth disorder from the start.

In dealing with a child with the disorder, it is important that the head and body remain supported when required. In cars, use a baby car seat that has a firm back and good support for the neck, which will be under increased pressure due to the larger head of the infant. The seat should be placed facing the rear and at the highest weight and height settings available to you, regardless of the guidelines set out in the manual.

Prams & play equipment

It is important also to be aware when dealing with prams and play equipment. Swings, strollers, baby carriers and jumper seats should be avoided unless they can provide support for the neck. Anything that may force the infant into a curled c shape should also be avoided. Above all else, adequate support for the head and neck is essential for people with growth disorder of all ages. Some recommend using a combination of a pillow and a footstool to promote good posture.

Monitoring

You must ensure that any family member with a growth disorder is carefully monitored for problems such as ear infections or the sleep deprivation disorder sleep apnea. In the latter’s case, the disorder occurs because of misshapen or small airways which can grow and develop in time to a more normal shape. Alternatively, after age 3 you could have the adenoids and tonsils removed to improve breathing. In more extreme cases, a tracheotomy procedure is required, where a small incision is made in the throat to aid breathing.

Healthy lifestyle

Healthy gentle activities such as swimming or cycling should be promoted from an early age, alongside a healthy diet, in order to avoid weight gain problems.

Modifications should also be made to the house in order to promote self dependency amongst those with the disorder. Specially designed extensions can be made to light switches, alongside low placed stair hand rails and levers on doors.

If you suspect the presence of a restricted growth condition, due to slow motor skills development, early skeletal development, or, as in adults an emerging problem, don’t hesitate to visit a doctor for diagnosis.

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