When Hannah and her twin sister, Grace, arrive at Prosthetic & Orthotic Solutions, there is no hesitation in their sparkly-shoed steps as they make their way down our hallway of offices and exam rooms. They know their way around and feel welcome here. Their joy, contagious as always, puts an instant smile on each staff member they pass.
The comfort Hannah and her family feel when they walk through our doors is our goal for every family who comes to us. As is true for many children, Hannah’s journey involves a team of people who are working together to support her growth and development.
Our relationship with Hannah and her family began when was she was just six months old. She had developed a misshapen head from lying in one direction due to torticollis (a condition that causes an infant to have a tilted head and difficulty turning the neck from tight muscles). Her physical therapist from early intervention talked to her family about the option of a cranial remolding helmet and referred them to Prosthetic & Orthotic Solutions. Craig Babyak, C.P.O., fit Hannah for her helmet. The compassion with which they were treated during that time stood out to Hannah’s mother, Jackie.
“From the beginning, we have received very personalized service,” Jackie reflects. “Craig even drove home from vacation when Hannah had a red mark on her head that wasn’t supposed to be there. He met us in their office on a Saturday and reshaped her helmet.”
Around 19 months of age, Hannah and her family returned. Diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy, Hannah was learning to walk and they were exploring orthotic braces to reduce her toe walking and in-toeing. Again, through referrals, they chose Prosthetic & Orthotic Solutions.
“We talked to every physical therapist we knew, connected with other parents and playgroups. The name that kept cycling through was coming here. As a parent, you pick and choose who you see, and you want only the best. You don’t want to have to be here, but you are glad you are here,” says Jackie.
Hannah was started with SMOs (Supra Malleolar Orthosis), and she now wears hinged AFOs (Ankle Foot Orthosis). The Prosthetic & Orthotic Solutions team has helped Hannah’s family understand how her braces support her body and how they will help her with tone management as she grows.
“We need that part to be perfect to be effective,” Jackie emphasizes.
And she is making progress, indeed! At home, the outdoor play structure is the place to be these days. Hannah is scaling the rock-climbing wall, climbing the ladder to get to the slide, and using the trapeze swing. At preschool, her braces are helping her meet her physical goals of navigating the playground and mastering the stairs safely.
“She is incredibly vibrant and tenacious. Thankfully she has a very go-with-the-flow attitude. She has adjusted easily to using her braces. I attribute that to her experience here. Nothing has been intimidating. Her initial introduction to the concept has been positive. It is always kid-centered here,” says Jackie.
What advice does Jackie have for families who are just beginning their journey?
“It’s going to be okay!” she stresses, followed by, ”Do your homework. You have to build the right community around you.”
Jackie has clearly done her homework, which no doubt contributes to the confidence and technical detail with which she explains Hannah’s journey thus far and the goals they are working toward. Perhaps most heartwarming is the pride that radiates from her when she describes her daughter’s analytical mind, her love of reading, of art, music, dance, and playing doctor. She has a community of support in place so that her daughter can go about the business of learning, playing, growing, and loving life. We are honored to be a part of her community.