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Does your child need posture help?

By: Katie Howell, PT, DPT

Physical therapists utilize different types of posture suits or garments to assist a child with activating his/her muscles in a more appropriate manner. There are a variety of types, from basic shirts and posture straps to full body compression suits. Many suits also come in a variety of types to accommodate the level of support needed.

Most of these garments are meant to be worn under clothes and right against the skin for optimal muscle activation. Many full body suits also come apart easily for diaper changes or toileting. Upon first glance, these garments look to be heavy and hot, but they are made from breathable materials that should remain fairly comfortable (unless spending a lot of time outside on a very hot day). Most are also machine washable using a gentle detergent, but need to be air dried.

One of the main reasons for getting a posture suit is to help activate the core muscles that provide postural support during a variety of daily activities. These activities can include performing gross motor activities, such as sitting, walking, playing on the playground, etc. They can also help with maintaining the support needed to eat a meal, sit to complete schoolwork, etc. Suits will only help a child when he/she is awake and utilizing muscles, since the posture suit is designed to assist with activating muscles, not perform the work for the child.

Some posture suits also come with straps that can be attached to provide additional and more rigid support if needed (particularly if a child has very low muscle tone), as well as ones that can be wrapped around the legs down to the ankle to assist with in-toeing or out-toeing.

In addition to the above benefits, posture suits can also assist with sensory concerns, including providing the compression to maintain a calm and focused state. If you are wondering if a posture suit may also assist with sensory needs for your child, please speak to your PT or OT for further information.

If you have any questions about how posture suits may benefit your child, please ask your PT and we can assist with determining appropriateness and also provide a trial with one of the suits we currently have at the clinic.

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