Assistive technology and equipment may help to maximise independence and optimise care. The following is a list of equipment to help you get familiar with some of what is available. Please note that this is not a comprehensive list. Be sure to speak with your care team to determine what may best suit your individual needs.
An adaptive stroller offers a lighter and more portable alternative to wheelchairs and can be loaded in and out of a vehicle more easily. They can be equipped with accessories that help with comfortable positioning and posture. Strollers are often used before a child is big enough for a wheelchair.
Cough assist machine
A cough assist machine helps to produce a more productive cough by gradually applying air into the lungs on inhale and quickly reversing the flow on exhale to push secretions out, allowing them to be removed from the mouth with a suction machine.
A pulse oximeter measures the percentage of oxygen in the blood by using a small clip or tape with a sensor placed on a finger or toe. Individuals with SMA may need extra breathing support, particularly while sleeping, if their oxygen levels drop too low.
Bilevel positive airway pressure (BiPAP) machine
A BiPAP machine provides a high volume of air into the lungs during inhalation, inflating the lungs greater than what an individual with SMA may do on their own. On exhalation, the machine lowers its pressure to allow for a more normal breathing pattern.
There are many different types of wheelchairs, both manual and power. Manual wheelchairs can be controlled from the chair or pushed by a caregiver. Power chairs are controlled electronically, typically by a joystick, enabling mobility without help from others. If muscle strength or control is an issue, joystick placement can be modified and adapted to fit individual needs.
A car bed allows individuals to lie down more comfortably while traveling in a car. These beds are recommended over a traditional car seat, especially for children with more severe types of SMA who may be at risk of apnoea or oxygen desaturation.
Individuals who are unable to stand independently can be helped into a standing position through a stander. Standing puts weight on bones, which may improve bone and muscle strength. There are standers that are stationary and some that are able to be moved (dynamic standers).