Case Study #2

Personal/Family Background
Client involved was 15 year-old son of family farming in southeastern Illinois.

Farming Operation
Small dairy and grain farm, consisting of 160 acres growing corn, beans, and hay. Livestock included about 50 head of milking cows, with calves for marketing.

Physical Limitation
At age 13, while assisting in the cleanup activities in the milking barn, an event resulted in the inhalation of chemical fumes. Severe bronchial burns left the boy ultra-sensitized to outdoor dust, pollen, strong smells, etc. A subsequent inability to participate in activities around the farm and home had shown a progressive decline in attitude and self-esteem during the two years after the accident.

Priority Needs
For this young man, his respiratory problem was preventing him from participating in both family and personal pursuits that typically are associated with emerging independence at that age. To minimize any further secondary effects, a means of allowing for him to participate in farm activities was needed.

After talking with the boy’s mother, a meeting was scheduled at their farm at which time the son was introduced to a commercially available dust-filtering helmet. The respiratory aide is a lightweight, positive-flow, air filtering system with rechargeable battery that makes the unit completely portable. With an alternative charcoal filter, excessive smells are also reduced to a minimum. After explaining how it worked, and letting him try it on in the house, the son wore it outside and around the farmyard. He fed calves hay, worked with the animals, and even drew feed for the cows in the barn, which is an extremely dusty process. He had no recognition of contacting dust, and did not even notice the usual strong chemical odor in the milk house.

In order to offset the cost of purchase, both local and statewide organizations were able to provide portions of the funding.

Safety Considerations
Outside of what is recommended by the manufacturer of the helmet, considerations centered on other tasks he would wear the helmet for, and the implications about visibility or exposure to other dangers. Quickly, a familiarity with wearing the helmet reduced many of those fears.

Over the next two years, this young man wore the helmet routinely as he went about doing chores around the family farm. From taking care of his 4-H calf, to working in the hay field, the device freed him to be active outdoors without fear of physical repercussions.