When your child, regardless of age, is referred to an Orthotist for new leg braces, there are a few things you can do to help them adapt to these new devices. Along with being physically comfortable, the tips can help with the psychological adaptation of these new devices.
Help the Child Feel at Ease
While this may seem obvious, it is actually something you can’t afford to ignore. Adults may be put at ease with a nice, friendly introduction and understanding of what the Orthotist will do. At this point, they are ready for the evaluation, imaging, and braces.
However, with children, this same approach should not be taken. This is a process that should not be rushed. Based on their age, this may involve playing with toys or sharing the braces and letting them see them. You can also discuss things the child is interested or involved in and try to find something you share with them. When you earn the child’s trust early in this process, it will go a long way if the other parts of the process cause them to feel anxious.
Include Children in Conversations Between Doctors and Parents
A conversation between the orthotist and a child’s parents can provide a lot of information. This offers a unique perspective to what the child needs at home, school, and other activities.
This information, along with what is provided by other members of the child’s team, will help keep the entire orthotic treatment focused on what the child needs. It is essential to make sure the child is included in these conversations to find out what they are feeling and answer any questions they may have – even off-topic or unrelated questions. Even at a younger age, children just want to be included in the choices being made about their care. This may include things like the design of the brace and more fun factors, such as the graphics and colors.
Provide a Distraction for Kids to Ensure They Aren’t Bored or Anxious
An essential piece of equipment for every clinical room is likely the computer. This is necessary for taking notes and scheduling; however, it will also provide the child access to their favorite show or cartoon during an otherwise long and boring appointment.
This will help keep them occupied while going through the different assessment processes, imaging, and casting parts. You can also use the computer to show others wearing the same type of braces they are getting. This will help ensure that the child knows they are not the only one.
Making the Process Easy
While kids can be anxious about getting new braces, you can help them feel much more comfortable with the right environment, setting, and information. In the long run, this will help ensure the child is comfortable with the new braces and that they are not worried about the process of wearing them. Working with children will ensure they do not worry about the process.