Bracing / Mobility Aids
Bucket Seat: Specially molded plastic seat provides the child with support to allow him to sit, play and develop hand skills. Can be used in the high chair, stroller, caster cart, or on the floor. Caster Cart: A 3-wheeled cart which allows the child to move around inside the house or outdoors without harming her skin, preventing skin breakdown on the legs. Good for small children to learn on before graduating to wheelchair. Walker / Rollator: Provide extra support for stability and balance when walking. Often used in conjunction with braces (see below). Wheelchair: A wheelchair can be a wonderful liberator. Someone with spina bifida can get around as quickly in a wheelchair as someone else can walking. In some respects, a wheelchair is much like an automobile or a pair of shoes. It provides the interface between the body and the world around it. Like shoes, a proper fit is essential if a person is to maximize her/his potential and feel comfortable moving around in the world; like a car, design factors should take into account one's personal needs and interests. Work with your occupational therapist whose professional knowledge and experience will assist you to select the best chair for you or your child. Rules regarding wheelchair use at home and at school need to be established and enforced early on. Other children must be aware that the wheelchair is an extension of the person using it: it is not a toy. Children (and adults) should not push the chair without the permission of the user, for two main reasons:
Independence - children should be expected to do as much as they can for themselves to promote independence, and
Safety - young children pushing wheelchairs can often be a safety risk.
Bracing / Splints from Understanding Spina Bifida
KAFO (Knee Ankle Foot Orthosis): Support the knee and ankle and allow the child to stand and walk with our without crutches or a walker. AFO (Ankle Foot Orthosis): Splints which hold the feet straight for standing and walking with and without walkers or crutches. Standing Brace: Supports a child's body and legs in a standing position and allows walking when using a walker or rollator. Some children learn to swivel or move forward by using a side-to-side motion without the use of a walker or rollator. Parapodium: A stable and lightweight brace designed for children when they outgrow the standing brace. Allows children to stand without using their hands for support. Also keeps the legs positioned properly and allows children to sit, stand, and walk by swivelling, hopping or using a walker, rollator or crutches. RGO (Reciprocating Gait Orthosis): Allows the child to walk by placing one foot in front of the other. A walker or crutches must always be used to maintain balance. Have splints and braces checked by your orthotist if they are causing red marks which take longer than 45 minutes to disappear.