What is Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy?
Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy is a genetic, muscle wasting condition that only affects boys. A lack of the protein Dystrophin means the muscle fibres break down and are replaced by fibrous and or fatty tissue causing the muscle to weaken gradually.
What are the common challenges caused by Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy?
As the condition progresses there is an increasing overall muscle weakness. Below are some of the challenges that Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy can cause:
- Difficulty walking long and then progressively short distances
- Difficulty with ascending and descending the stairs
- Frequent falling
- Fatigue affecting writing and school work
- Moving between items of furniture such as from bed to wheelchair or wheelchair to car
- Challenges with wheelchair access in the school or home environment
If you would like to learn more about how we as occupational therapists can help people overcome common difficulties associated with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, you will find some useful links at the bottom of this page.
How can occupational therapy help a child with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy?
Our team of expert paediatric occupational therapists are skilled at working with children with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy and finding solutions to the challenges the condition can present. We recognise that each child and family are different and aim to provide a consultative approach to help them manage their everyday life.
Below are some of the ways that an occupational therapist can help:
An occupational therapist will be able to assess and advise on the most suitable wheelchairs as and when this becomes necessary.
Ensuring that the home environment is as accessible and inclusive as possible allows for a child's maximum level of independence to be achieved. Our team of paediatric housing occupational therapists will provide advice on any home adaptations that are required to ensure that environmental barriers are broken down.
As the condition progresses it is likely that there will be items of equipment that are required such as hoists and slings to ensure that movement is completed safely for all involved. An occupational therapist can assess, advise, prescribe and train as needed.
Access to education
Young people with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy can require support when they approach school, college or university to help ensure the environment is accessible for their needs. An occupational therapist can work with the educational establishment to ensure that any necessary alterations are made.