H.20 Developing Splints to Reduce Challenging Behavior Exhibited by Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder
For individuals who engage in high intensity self-injurious behavior, personal protective equipment may be considered. The goal of the protective equipment is to maintain the individual’s safety. Splints are a form of personal protective equipment that is rigid or flexible and maintain an individual’s arms in a straight position. Each splint is custom made to the contours of the individual’s body and their specific needs including arm length, width, and limitation of motion. The motion is limited by thin, flat metal placed systematically around the outside of the splint (stays). The more stays inside the splint the stronger the resistance. This approached is necessary to provide the option that is least restrictive for the individual while maintaining their personal safety.
Splints are needed in order to maintain safety of the identified patient as well as people around the patient, i.e. caregiver, family members. We currently have a child, in our severe behavior program who relies on these splints to maintain his safety and the safety of those around him. Without these splints, his family is unable to take him out safely to places and his family system is affected as a whole. For example, without splints this child is using his hands and arms to hit his head over 100 times within a few minutes. We’ve worked with other patients that have detached their retinas due to self-injury. The use of splints with our clients has allowed their families to safely leave their homes to go grocery shopping or attend community events. The use of splints with our population has been lifesaving and improved their functioning (e.g., maintaining eyesight, being able to participate in a classroom activity). However, the technology regarding splints is still developing and we are often left with few options to provide families. These options are usually very expensive (over $500) and due to the poor quality, need to be replaced frequently. These costs are not covered by insurance companies given the tool has not gone through the proper process of becoming an approved medical device.
Impact of a Solution
The current splints that are available to families do not meet patient needs. Developing a more cost efficient splint that can be utilized for a longer period of time would assist families in accessing safety supports. Being able to produce splints and order them from a medical supply company would allow families to access them as needed. Having more realistic and feasible splint options for our patient and his family would allow them to live a more typical life with fewer restrictions on a daily basis. It would allow for a more secure feeling when leaving the house and provide our patient with a greater sense of safety as well.
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