Monday, March 8, 2010


Sometimes I find that the most trivial things can remind me to slow down and take a look around. Will's physical therapist mentioned a couple of weeks ago that Will's current ankle braces (DAFOs) were getting a bit snug and he needed a new pair.

Will wears DAFOs daily to provide the proper alignment for his feet and ankles while in his equipment, but especially to disable him from pointing his toes. Will has spastic cerebral palsy, which means that his muscles are overly tight. When he gets excited or angry or is just trying to move his left hand, his whole body contracts strongly to enable the action. By disabling his feet from being a part of that overall contraction, we're trying to teach his brain to use local muscles for local movements, rather than have him continue to flex his whole body to move one appendage.

Will has had DAFOs since October 2008, when we first got his wheelchair and stander. He's gone through several pairs since that time. And while I shamefully didn't save the first pair of DAFOs, I did save his second pair (which were created in early February 2009).

The photo above is the comparison of Will's DAFOs, one year apart (the pair on the left is from February 2009, the pair on the right was fit to him late last month). For all the time I have spent worrying about him putting on weight and feeling like a failure every time he vomited or didn't feel like eating, I never stopped to admire that he was still growing. His feet and legs and height have all increased significantly in the past year. And it took a new pair of shoes to make me realize that we must be doing at least a couple things right.

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