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Survey about achondroplasia
We have designed a questionnaire with the purpose to better know the population connected to achondroplasia.
The questionnaire is optional and anonymous. The data obtained will be used for statistical purposes and to better understand the natural history of achondroplasia. Please consider answering.
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Depending on limb length, some people of short stature will have trouble reaching their perineal area, making cleaning this area in the bath and wiping a difficult task, especially for children. Not every person with achondroplasia will have this problem, and most people can reach with a little twist, depending on the length of the arms [1].

But for those who do experience this problem and want to develop an independent life, there are several tools in the market that extend your reach up to 50cm [2 - 4]. These reach extenders are designed so they can hold an object by gripping it on the tip of a long plastic arm, holding it in place for use (some can also be used for other tasks, such as applying ointments).  A button on the handle will release the object being held with the extender.

There are several options for these tasks, such as the FreedomWand, Juvo Self-Assist Toilet Aid, Bottom Buddy, Self Wipe, Comfort Wipe and so on.

Another question that arises is reaching the toilet itself and the sink. Children, in particular, will have a hard time reaching these objects, since they are sized for adults of average height. This can be solved with a step stool of adequate height in the bathroom (there are several options, such as the one in the picture) or by building steps into the toilet and sink, allowing a person of small stature to reach everything in the bathroom. An alternative, albeit more expensive, option is to re-do a bathroom to include a child-size toilet and sink, avoiding the stools and making general access to the bathroom more comfortable and safer [5].

steps for the toilet
Credits: Fundación ALPE.

In public restrooms the height of the toilets and bathroom stall locks is more difficult to solve. While for hand washing a portable bottle of hand sanitizer can be used and some stall doors can be closed using one of the reach extenders mentioned before, reaching the the toilet can be more difficult. Even though most countries have laws forcing public places to be more accessible by installing a handicapped toilet, they are designed thinking about a person in a wheelchair, and usually are at least as high as an average toilet and are not recommended for people of short stature. While most adults with achondroplasia will be able to reach the toilet, this can still be an issue for some, which, unfortunately, remains to be solved, as well as bathroom stall locks that are placed too high and can't be closed using a reach extender.

Sources


  1. Dwarf Parents. Classroom Setup Check off List. [cited 2017 15/09].
  2. Tacoma, D. Take Charge of Your Own Personal Care! 2017 [cited 2017 15/09].
  3. Owens, P. Toileting. 2015 [cited 2017 15/09].
  4. Pierre, S. and B. Wenger. Bottom Buddy. [cited 2017 15/09].
  5. Sweat, T., A little WEE for me?, 2008, Dwarfism Awareness.
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