The Adeli Suit and Cerebral Palsy

Alternative, Assistive Technology, Cerebral Palsy Therapies

For children with cerebral palsy, there are many therapy options that could enhance abilities and provide relief from persistent symptoms. Learn how intensive suit therapy solutions like the Adeli suit could improve mobility patterns in cerebral palsy patients.

What Is the Adeli Suit?

The Adeli Suit is a wearable therapy device for children with cerebral palsy. Its design is based on the spacesuit, known as the Penguin suit, that cosmonauts wore in the 1960s. The Adeli suit was introduced in 1991.

Like the Penguin suit, the Adeli suit creates a heightened sense of force against the body to combat motor dysfunction. While the Penguin suit was designed to combat the gravity-free environment of outer space, the Adeli suit’s artificial force may help cerebral palsy patients develop muscles and improve posture.

How the Adeli Suit Works

The Adeli suit is a multi-part device that includes a vest, shoulder pads, shorts, a belt, knee pads, and footwear. Some suits also include custom headwear. The components connect to one another and have a system of elastic bands or springs that position the body properly and increase resistance.

Patients wear the Adeli suit for therapy sessions, during which they practice walking and performing other physical exercises. Therapists can also guide patients through stretching and other repetitive movements.

Most patients who use the Adeli suit undergo intensive physiotherapy sessions for a span of about one month. They typically participate in suit therapy for up to seven hours a day, six days a week. Select therapists in the United States and Europe offer physiotherapy with the Adeli suit.

How Effective Is the Adeli Suit?

Around the world, reports have indicated that Adeli suit therapy has helped patients with cerebral palsy gain fine motor control and improve both speech and movement. A few small studies have explored the device’s efficacy, including a 2006 study comparing the Adeli suit with neurodevelopmental treatment for patients with cerebral palsy. This study concluded that the two treatments contributed to improved motor function, but the Adeli suit led to more significant improvements in mechanical efficiency.

A 2016 Adeli suit case study looked at how the device affected two patients with spastic cerebral palsy. The 2016 study concluded that Adeli suit therapy improved gross motor function and walking abilities for both children.

Although both studies reveal promising results, there are no large-scale clinical trials demonstrating the efficacy of this device. Additional clinical trials are necessary to understand more about the Adeli suit’s applications.

Adeli Suit Vs. TheraSuit

Like the Adeli Suit, the TheraSuit is a wearable therapy device designed to improve patients’ motor functions. This device may also increase balance and spatial awareness and improve speech production. The TheraSuit was introduced in 2002, about a decade after the Adeli suit.

How the TheraSuit Compares to the Adeli Suit

Both the Adeli suit and the TheraSuit allow cerebral palsy patients to undergo similar forms of intensive suit therapy. The two devices may improve motor function and posture over the course of several weeks or months. If you’re considering this type of therapy for your child, however, it’s important to understand how these two devices differ.

Because the TheraSuit was developed more recently, it benefits from new technology and increased convenience. This intensive suit therapy device is considered easier to wear than the Adeli suit and comes in a range of sizes that can fit almost any patient.

The TheraSuit is also more widely available, as over 400 clinics in 50 countries across Europe and the Americas provide therapy with this device. Although both devices are primarily designed for clinical use, patients can also use the TheraSuit at home. In many cases, parents may be able to assist children with wearing and using this device during at-home therapy sessions.

If you think intensive suit therapy could help your child, don’t hesitate to seek personalized advice. Talk with your child’s doctor to learn whether the Adeli suit or the TheraSuit could be an option for your child.
If you believe that medical malpractice may have contributed to your child’s cerebral palsy, you don’t have to wonder alone. Contact the Cerebral Palsy Family Lawyers at Janet, Janet & Suggs to discuss your case today.



Claire Surles, RN
Reviewed by:
Claire Surles, RN
Registered Nurse

Claire comes to JJS after a 10-year career as a labor and delivery nurse. She dedicated her hospital efforts to advocating for families, providing the safest birthing environment possible as Newborn Admission Nurse at UMMC St. Joseph Medical Center in Towson, Maryland. Her passion for helping those who experienced losses at any stage of gestation led to her appointment as Coordinator of the hospital’s ROOTS perinatal loss program. READ FULL BIO

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