Friday, March 25, 2011

Walking Tall

Wednesday we met with a new doctor for Daniel, a pediatric physiatrist at UNF, and got her input on his  AFO's (leg braces). On hand was his hippotherapy PT, aka the Queen of AFO's. I'm so glad we did this, because they were able to spend a lot of time with him, watching him walk, debating on the best brace for him, and also checking for any tightness in his muscles (he has very little, and treating it would most likely make him crumple over).

The verdict is that he needs a more flexible AFO. The Queen says his current ones are like ski boots. They don't allow him the movement he needs when he's walking. Both she and the doc also want to see him using his walker more, but we need an updated model since the one we have is seven years old and way too small for him. We haven't bothered with a new one because our PT at school transitioned him to hand-held walking several years ago. The problem is, he has way too much of a drunken swagger at times.

Since he was casted and measured just a couple of weeks ago by the orthotist who visits the school, I had to race to see if I could change the prescription before the new AFO's were made. In a rare stroke of perfect timing, I arrived at 4 p.m. while they were still open and available to recast him and make the changes to the script. We scored!

This is a parade of the AFO's he's had over the years. Our new PT, the Queen, feels that he might even be able to walk with a pair that end at the ankle. We're going to try some off-the-shelf shorter ones that we can buy reasonably cheap. Go Dan!

This is a video taken last June when he graduated from fifth grade. He's doing pretty well with the hand-held walking, here. He often tends to pull down on our arm when he walks like this, though. I think he knows better than to try that with his aide!

Another cool thing about this visit was that the physiatrist mentioned how much he resembles someone with Rett Syndrome. That's always been the closest diagnosis I could come up with to match Daniel's list of characteristics. Years ago he tested negative for it, which isn't surprising since it mostly affects girls, and boys with the deletion generally don't live long. I'm wondering if the missing piece of his genetic puzzle lies somewhere close to the MCEP gene, just not exactly the same as the one that causes Retts. We see our geneticist next summer, so maybe we'll get some insights there.

All in all, a good visit, good connections with new people, and hopes for improved mobility for my boy!

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