RECENT IMPROVEMENTS IN UPPER LIMB PEDIATRICS
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Not only are children fit with myoelectric arms at a much earlier age than years before, but also they are now much more functional and successful with these devices. Advancements such as microprocessor-based controls, longer lasting batteries, improved socket design, and flexible socket materials have improved the functionality of children, especially those under the age of 5, with their prosthesis. Because the pediatric population is so small in our field, it is infrequent that the practitioner knows these advancements. Understanding these improvements and changes to fitting protocols not only helps the child with the device, but also strengthens the rehab team, including the O&P practitioner and OT, as well as strengthens the relationship with referrals and payors. Yet, most importantly, the entire rehab team becomes aware of these advances and can provide optimum care not seen even just a few years ago. Having a child born without a limb is an emotional trying time for parents. Although many children develop a one-handed independence, parents do not want their child to struggle physically or psychologically. Our organization has found an increasing acceptance of myoelectric control for this young population, primarily from the results received in improved socket design and components. However, the three most important criteria for functionality at this age comes from 1) a team approach, 2) continual follow up, and 3) discussions by the parents, Certified Prosthetists, Occupational Therapists, manufacturers, and other referrals such as Case Managers.
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