Thursday, April 28, 2011

'Knee'ding Some Advice

Ronnie is struggling with his braces and crutches. He has said many times that he wants to walk, and because of that, I ordered the full hip to foot braces and a set of crutches. But as therapy approaches each week, and anytime I tell him that it is time to practice walking, he balks. He will tell me that he doesn’t like therapy and doesn’t like walking, but once we are there, he tells the therapist he likes walking. Teenagers!!

I think the reason he is so torn is that learning to walk is hard. And, in my experience with four other teenaged children, tackling something hard is not their first choice. I need to help him understand that while it may be difficult right now, the end result is something he has really wanted for a long time. Unfortunately, that end result may be well into the future. So there’s that teenager thing again – learning to walk with braces and crutches doesn’t provide instant gratification.

When Ronnie is at school, he uses his wheelchair exclusively. When he is at home, he likes to stay out of the chair and scoot around the house on his knees. He’s very good about vaulting himself up into chairs, onto the couch, or into the bathtub. But when he leaves those places, he also vaults himself onto the floor onto his knees. And his knees are starting to complain.

He told the therapist last night that walking was making his knees hurt. After a thorough exam, the therapist convinced him that walking was not the problem, scooting and landing on his knees was. I am going to get him some heavy duty knee pads – the kind like contractors use when laying floor – but he has some decisions to make.

Does he want to walk around the house or roll around the house? I worry that he will choose rolling and over time, severely limit his options for anything else. And the last thing I want is for him to regret never having learned to walk – a regret this his teenaged self may not realize at this moment.

So here I am asking for advice again. Have any of you faced a similar issue, especially with the braces and crutches, and if so, how did it all play out with your child?

1 comment:

Ashley said...


I have Cerebral Palsy, not Spina Bifida, so my experience is a little different, but if you'd like to e-mail me at ashleywriter at gmail dot com we can roll some ideas around- This is a tough one.