||With many pieces of literature that debate whether children with upper extremity limb
deficiencies should be fitted with upper extremity prostheses (Biddis & Chau, 2007;
Biddis & Chau, 2008; James et al., 2006; Wagner, Bagley, James, 2007), it remains
uncertain why adults with congenital upper extremity limb loss continue to wear prostheses
into adulthood. Our childhood stories contain details of how we have become the persons
we are today (Clark, 1993). What childhood experiences have influenced adults with
unilateral congenital below elbow deficiency (UCBED) to continue to wear a prosthesis?
This study used qualitative methods to capture childhood experiences that have impacted
the lives of adults who currently wear a below elbow prosthesis. A phenomenological
approach using in-depth narrative interviews of three adults with UCBED targeted 1)
positive and negative stories remembered from childhood 2) stories related to use
and non-use of the prosthesis, 3) perceived quality of life and identity, and 4) influences
to wear a prosthesis. Analyses of these interviews resulted in themes consisting of
the participants’ backgrounds, growing up and coping with “facts of life”, how the
individuals continue to cope as adults, the influences to wear a prosthesis, and each
individual’s personal recommendations for families with a child with UCBED.