Guest Post: Therapy as Quilting

Posted by Johanna Fox on

Guest post written by Kelly Wilkinson 

Last month we found out my little one has Torticollis and Plagiocephaly. This is doctor speak for his neck muscles are tight on one side, so he doesn’t like to turn his head to the left. The result is a flat spot on his head. After a long day of appointments at the physical therapist and helmet consultation, I started thinking about how we could help. Or more specifically, what we could make to help. 

Therapy as Quilting StitchCraft

I have scoliosis and wore a back brace for four years. It’s very similar for my son, physical therapy and wearing a brace for 23 hours a day. When I was going through that, my mom did things to make it more comfortable for me. She sewed a pillow backpack so I could sit more comfortably at school and making pads for where the brace hit under my arms. She let me paint them however I wanted and helped me through all of it. 

I knew I could paint his helmet and I plan to, but I wanted to do more like my mom did for me.  We needed a blanket to take to the chiropractor visits and the physical therapist told us to put all his toys on the left to tempt him into looking that way. I thought, Why not make a quilt that has interest on only one side? 

I picked out four Kaffe Fassett fabrics to use for the interesting side and a single blender to use for the other. I tested a few fat quarters to see which ones got his attention. Instead of a backing I made another top with the same concept so that I could flip it over and have new colors and patterns if he got bored 

Therapy as Quilting StitchCraft

I made a theme for each side; one side is dinosaurs and the other superheroes.  I used a dinosaur print and a superhero print for the middles since that’s where he would be laying.  I got a lot of advice from my co-workers at StitchCraft and came up with a plan for half square triangles. I doubled the batting to make it softer for him and tacked it together where the points met at each side. 

Therapy as Quilting StitchCraft

For practical purposes, it is perfect. He has been using it for the last few weeks. His physical therapist and the chiropractor have both seen a difference in his mobility. Whether on his back or on his tummy for tummy time, we make sure the interesting side is on his left and he is drawn to it immediately. 

It also helps him when he is trying to hold his head up. If we put him on his tummy so that his head is in the middle of the interesting side, he will move his head back and forth to scan all of the colors and patterns. 

I am honestly surprised that I can find no record of anyone making this kind of a therapy quilt before. I feel like it would help a lot of babies with Torticollis. Even without having Torticollis, it is a great way to help babies stretch in both directions and work on their neck muscles. 

I’d like to find a way to let more people know about it so that it might help others too. If you have any information to share, leave it in the comments below.

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  • Your quilt is beautiful. What a great idea to help this little guy. Love this idea. Love this story.

    Ann Gardner on

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