Flat head baby’s treatment is a success

Andria Donnison with her son Coby. (PA1246-3).
Andria Donnison with her son Coby. (PA1246-3).

THE family of a one year old baby have spoken of their joy after he was successfully treated for a severe form of flat head syndrome.

Coby Donnison has regularly featured in Free Press throughout the past 12 months as the community rallied round to raise the £2,000 needed to buy him a special helmet to try and correct the condition.

At around six months old Coby was diagnosed with severe plagiocephaly and brachycephaly - otherwise known as flat head syndrome which is caused by a baby sleeping on their back every night leading to part of the skull becoming flattened.

Little Coby has had to wear a special helmet over the last six months to correct the condition, with the results far exceeding his family’s expectations.

Coby’s mum Andria told the Free Press: “We are ecstatic with the result. He went past his target so we are really pleased, it was totally worth all the hard work and raising the money.”

When Coby was around 10 weeks old his family noticed a slight flattening to the left side of his head.

But at the time the health visitor said it was temporary and he would grow out of it as he grew older or his hair would cover it.

But as the weeks went on the flattening seemed to be getting worse, at which point grandmother Carol Bacon aired her concerns to Andria and Coby’s dad John who had been told by the health visitor to employ the ‘repositioning technique’ and ‘tummy time’.

But neither led to any improvement at which point Carol started researching the syndrome on the internet.

Carol said she was “amazed” to discover there was no treatment for the condition available on the NHS as it was considered to be cosmetic.

She was also alarmed to learn that over time, without corrective treatment the condition could affect Coby’s jaw and ear alignment meaning he would be unable to wear any type of head wear later in life, such as a crash helmet, or glasses.

“I was completely gutted. Not to mention the torment he would endure at pre-school and school while growing up. There’s nothing worse than being picked on and bullied at school. Already we were experiencing people staring at his misshapen head,” Carol said.

Through her research Carol eventually found out about Technology In Motion, a company providing plagiocephaly helmets to correct the shape of the head.

After some persuasion Andria and John agreed to visit the clinic in Leeds for a consultation, when it was discovered Coby not only had plagiocephaly but also brachycephaly.

“On the severity of the chart he fell into the ‘very severe’ category. We were absolutely, totally devastated, his condition was even more severe than I had thought,” Carol said.

“I had not expected such a severe result. We were speechless for a while until reality sank in and we needed to make a decision,” she added.

With the cost of the helmet standing just short of £2,000 the family decided fund-raising was the only way forward, with residents and businesses in Bridlington quick to offer their support.

“It was quite stressful trying to organise everything and with Coby adjusting to the helmet and having to go to appointments at Leeds every three weeks,” Andria said.

In the meantime the family went ahead and ordered Coby’s helmet which was fitted in April.

“He looked so cute, like a little super hero. Coby adapted to his helmet quite easily within a few days and started on his mending journey,” Carol said.

“Admittedly some people did stare and a few asked what was wrong with him, some children even asked where they could get one from,” she added.

Coby’s first follow up appointment showed a 4mm improvement and one month after the fitting there was a big visible improvement.

In total Coby had to wear the helmet for 166 days and was 11 months old when his treatment finished.

“We are ecstatic. We have just celebrated his first birthday and it seems as though the helmet had never been a part of his life at all. The fantastic final result is absolutely amazing, no-one would ever know there had ever been such a severe skull deformity,” Carol said.

The family have said a big thank you to everyone who has helped with Coby’s treatment, including Sandie Waddell, director of clinical services at Technology In Motion, all the Bridlington businesses and residents who donated to the cause, and all their friends and family.