The generosity of staff at law firm Shepherd and Wedderburn is helping to highlight the existence of a little known medical condition. Proceeds from a raffle at the company’s annual ball are being donated to a fund set up with the aim of helping infants suffering with plagiocephaly (sometimes referred to as flat head syndrome).

Plagiocephaly develops in some babies when they are a few months old, usually from sleeping on their backs.  Often, and within a short time, the problem will correct itself, but left untreated, severe cases can result in permanent deformity.

Carole Ritchie, HR director at Shepherd and Wedderburn was made aware of the condition by long-serving Personal Assistant, Margaret Farmer. Carole said:

 "Margaret’s own grandson, Zac, suffered from an acute form of plagiocephaly, and we were sufficiently moved  by her family’s experience to want to help other sufferers, and at the same time raise awareness of the condition."

The specialist treatment received by Zac, which had to be privately funded, was a complete success and the whole family is delighted that Zac is now a happy healthy toddler.  Margaret commented:

“We are delighted with the success of Zak’s helmet therapy and hope that by publicising our own plight, others in a similar situation may benefit. The difference treatment has made to Zac's head is amazing, He is a perfect little boy and proof that we made the right decision in opting for the helmet therapy* treatment.  I am touched by the generosity of friends and colleagues at Shepherd and Wedderburn.”

Notes to editors

Information on the condition can be found at: http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/plagiocephaly/Pages/Introduction.aspx

* Headband or helmet therapy

  • Helmets or headbands, known as cranial orthoses, are designed to improve the symmetry of a baby's skull. These custom-made devices apply pressure to "bulging" parts of the skull and relieve pressure from other parts, allowing growth in the flatter areas. The device may also prevent the child lying on the flattened part of their head.
  • Cranial orthoses are designed to be used while a baby’s skull is still soft and malleable. Treatment should be started when the child is around five or six months old. To be effective, the device has to be worn continuously (up to 23 hours a day).
  • Helmet therapy usually takes three to six months to complete and is often used until the child is about 14 months old. However, it can sometimes take longer for treatment to be successful.
  • Treatment is not currently available on the NHS.