Getting your child's head cast for a DOC Band helmet is quite an experience. Some children cry the entire time, some fall asleep, others just take it calmly. I found the process fascinating.
Before each casting , they start out by taking pictures of the front, both sides, back and top of the child's head. These pictures help them keep track of the child's progress. They also use calipers to measure all kinds of details about the child's head. These figures allow them to very precisely determine how the child's therapy is progressing. They can see if one ear is further back than the other, for example.
When you go to the casting appointment, it is very helpful to have both parents there. The office could always call someone else in to help, but I really found it much nicer to have my husband there with me. Gage's final casting was practically an event. We had me, my husband, our daughter and my husband's parents there. Having my in-laws there is why we were able to get great pictures of this.
Don't wear good clothes or much jewelry to the casting. They'll recommend you remove rings and watches. You will get plaster on your hands!
A heavy stocking is placed over the child's head and a hole cut out for the mouth and nose. Eyebrows and ears are marked.
Plaster bandages are then placed around the child's head. These are done in two sections, with Vaseline on the overlapping segments so that the casting will come off easily.
Finally, you can see what a mess he was, even with the stocking on to keep the bandages from sticking too much to him when they came off.
As you can see, he took it all quite calmly - this time. All in all, Gage had his head cast three different times - once at the start of his therapy for the first helmet, then a new casting for the second helmet, and then the final casting when the therapy was done. He reacted differently each time. The first time he cried a little then fell asleep. Second time he cried the entire time. The last time he took it all quite calmly and played with a toy a little.
The molds made from the castings are very interesting to look at. The difference between each is quite distinct, and the molds are used at each appointment as a visual reference for his progress. It's really interesting to look at the first casting, which distinctly shows his craniosynostosis, and how he looks now. The second is interesting also, although his head looked almost normal then.
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