Modern Design – Ideas for Pediatric Physical Therapy

Krabat-Jockey-Detail01b19My recent trip to New York City included a visit to The Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) to see “Century of the Child: Growing by Design”, a grand survey of designs for children. The twentieth century, despite some very dark decades, was marked by a global emphasis on child developments and rights.  School buildings, pediatric hospitals, playgrounds, clothing, toys and books of this period were all designed with the well-being of their recipients in mind; and since they were creating for children, designers could let their imaginations run wild.

As an ode to creativity, innovation and good design, this exhibition is worth viewing in and of itself.  Surprisingly many of the pieces are still in production and use., and many have relevance for therapists of every discipline especially pediatric physical therapy.  Walking through the collection, three objects in particular caught my attention:

  • Krabet Jockey – a lightweight, foldable chair for the active disabled child.  Its saddle seat is designed for optimal joint stability, promotion of muscle tone and reduction on upper body strength. The chair comes in two sizes suitable for children ages 2-14 and will accommodate a SWAST orthosis.
  • Hippo: A Therapeutic Toy – one of a series of zoo animals designed in 1969 by East German artist Renate Müller for therapeutic use. Sturdily made of leather and jute, these toys encourage disabled children to engage in interactive play while strengthening their motor skills.
  • Tummy – a soft, fuzzy “monkey” meant to stimulate children with mental disabilities and reduce their anxiety through the comfort of its warm embrace.  Dutch designer Twan Verdonck created a series of “pets” based on his work with pediatric patients at his local hospital.

Physical Therapists or Physical Therapy Assistants who work with young patients will especially appreciate this exhibition  closing November 5, 2012. Catch it if you can and then call Centra at 800 535 0076 and let us find you employment opportunities that will best utilize your creativity!

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