Thursday, April 24, 2014

Alice's Helmet saga

As some of you know Alice was diagnosed with plagiocephaly. Medical term for flat and lopsided head. She was favoring laying on the right side of her head and that side started to get flat. Her head was also vaulted, meaning it was a bit pointed at the top. So we had her evaluated by a physical therapist in November then took steps to get her in a helmet to correct her skull shape. We got her helmet in early January and she has been wearing it all day every day since then (except at bath time and when we changed her clothes).
Getting measured for her helmet. Those are photo dots to help the scanner pick up the shape of her head. 
She was 7 months old when we got the helmet and the Orthotist said that we needed to get her in the helmet right away because she was getting to be at the age when her skull plates begin to fuse together and the helmet is less effective after that happens. He also said that the treatment would be considered a success if we just stopped the progression of the plagiocephaly.

First meal with the helmet. I wasn't sure how I was going to keep it clean.
She adapted to it well and didn't mind wearing it. I'd say it was almost a positive to have it because when she would bump her head, she wouldn't feel it and just keep on going. When she started walking, (YES! She is walking! She started around 8/9 month mark) It helped keep her from hurting her noggin too bad.
Not so bad.
Standing and taking steps.
So now we are at the 4 month mark and she has had about 85% correction. The plates in her head are pretty much fused together and we might not get too much more correction beyond this point. So we have decided to remove it. Her head is still a little flat on one side and her ears are about a millimeter asymmetric, but once her hair grows in, no one will know except her hair dresser. 
No more helmet.
Now the down side to all this, we have had to appeal to our insurance company because they didn't cover the cost of the helmet treatment. The way our policy reads is that they would have covered the cost of a surgery to correct Alice's problem, but not this simple, effective treatment with the helmet. Kids with plagiocephaly can have all sorts of problems if it isn't corrected. Plagiocephaly can have detrimental effects to hearing, sight, and jaw position. There is also research that suggests she could have mental developmental problems.

So we are waiting to hear the results of our appeal. I am hoping coverage comes through for it because this was an expensive crash helmet. Many other parents have struggled with getting this treatment covered by insurance. I am hoping my appeal and the appeals of others will push insurance companies to change their policies and cover this treatment. This is a fairly common condition in kids these days, so common there are even people who specialize in making art out of kid's helmets
Yay! Swimming!
That's the update. We are taking baby and me swim class and getting ready for summer fun. Grandma Kross will be visiting for Alice's birthday in a month and we are looking forward to spending some time outside.