Face of hope

Face of hope
Courtesy: TIffany Kay Photography

Monday, March 3, 2014

AFO time

Meagan's PT has been waiting on fitting Meagan for any sort of braces.  Mostly because she wasn't sure Meagan would accept them to help her since Megs absolutely despises any sort of equipment on her body.  Typically any equipment or devices in the past made her freak out and it evolved into such an emotional break down, we would never get to the therapeutic purpose of the equipment or device anyway.  Lately though, with Meagan now sitting on her own, her PT really wants to work on getting Meagan some weight on her feet.  Since Meagan can scooch on her bottom, her arms are finally gaining some strength from all the pushing, but her legs, especially her lower legs, are still quite weak.  Her feet have also not grown in over a year.  The PT wants Meagan to start having more assisted time on her feet so we can stimulate some growth for her feet to support her body and also to stimulate her leg muscles to get stronger.

Meagan used to hate any pressure on her feet, but lately, she does tolerate the PT or myself holding her upright with her feet touching the floor.  She won't hold much weight but she will allow her feet to touch the floor and lift them up to "tap, tap, tap" the floor with her toes or bottom of her foot which is a huge improvement.  Meagan's PT thought now would be the perfect time to fit her for some braces since she seems to be tolerating some of this and is hopeful we can get her into the braces without much fight so she gets used to them and sees how they can help her.

Meagan's legs collapse inward if we try to help her stand

Originally the PT was thinking Meagan could use some SMOs (read about them here) but it is apparent now Meagan needs a lot more support.  So the PT asked Meagan to be fitted for AFOs (you can read about those here), or Ankle Foot Orthotics.  It is a brace that will go from under her foot up to her knee, and will be solid, holding her lower leg in position and also offereing support for working on standing/weight bearing.  Typically, special shoes are also purchased with the AFO so the child can fit their braced foot into the shoe easily, but in Meagan's case, her AFO will have tread directly on the bottom of it.  In essence, it will be her "shoe."  The PT thinks this is the best for her since her lower legs are so tiny so they aren't trying to hold the weight of a shoe on top of the weight of the brace.

Patiently waiting to go to a casting room

The casting for her AFOs was this morning. In typical Meagan fashion, she screamed as soon as we walked into the room - she has had so much done she cries or screams at any doctor office, including mine or her sisters.  We had a great guy working with us who talked to Meagan the whole time, made funny noises, and asked her questions to distract her from the casting.  She did "ok" through the casting, and surprisingly, through them cutting the casts off - the time she screamed the most was actually when they had to massage her foot and lower leg to set the cast in a certain position - something we are working on with her sensory-wise.  Once the casting was over, they showed us her cute little legs - I didn't realize how tiny they really were!

Putting on the casting stockings and setting the center guide

Putting on the plaster

All done!

It should be about 4 weeks for insurance to respond, let the Orthotics office know what we owe and for them to make her AFOs.  Once we get them we will go back and be instructed on how to put her legs in them each day and what exercises we will do with her to help boost her weight bearing and learning to stand.  As a plus, the AFOs come in very cute designs - they showed many of them to Meagan but she seemed to respond the most to one called "Sweetheart"... which is kind of funny because we call her that a lot.

Meagan's AFO pattern

Quite a busy morning, but excited for this next step for Megs! Now we just have to count down the 4 weeks until she is officially into her new Sweetheart AFOs and hopefully from there we will see a great improvement in her efforts at assisted standing.  In other news, Maura found a way to entertain herself during the casting.... this is only one screenshot off my phone but I'm pretty sure there are about 100 "selfies" ...... Oh Maura!

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