Monday, April 30, 2012

Arm Braces

Many of our Rett Girls use arm braces or elbow immobilizers.  Lately we have added a couple of new arm brace manufacturers, so we decided to do a post on what they're for and what the different manufacturers can offer.
Our Rett Girls use arm braces for several reasons:

  • One of the most common reasons is hand mouthing.  Rett brings on repetitive hand movements, and for many of our girls that means mouthing hands continuously. This is not only distracting, but exposes our girls to many germs - especially while in school -  and can also cause skin breakdown from the constant wetness.
  • Arm braces may also be worn for safety when our Rett Girls engage in self injurious or involuntary behavior.
  • They may also be used in therapy to provide support or stability while doing therapy.
  • Lastly they may also be used in place of an IV board when our Rett Girls are in the hospital.  In fact, the feedback we have heard from parents about using their own arm braces in place of IV boards has been great, they seem to offer our girls just a bit more comfort and a little more stability to keeping that arm straight with an IV in place.

We have heard from many Rett parents about arm braces and most experiences are positive.  Many tell us that they never wanted to limit their Rett Girls' movements, but once they did their girls were able to concentrate on other things and were not as distracted by their hand movements.  That being said ALL our girls are different so try it out if your Rett Girl is experiencing any of the above and see if it helps out.

We have several manufacturers listed on our site what makes them all the same is that none of them need a prescription, however without a script you pay completely out of pocket.  Several of them will bill an insurance company if you do decide to send in a script.  Each one offers something just a little bit different though:  Offers home made arm braces (among other things) that are custom made.  You give your Rett girls arm measurements and you choose the fabric.  You can even send in your own fabric to make them truly unique and custom.

The Bamboo Brace:  Uses 5 flexible and interchangeable "stays" that you can insert into the neoprene arm wrap so you can adjust to varying amounts of plasticity or instability.  These arm braces were developed by physical therapists and are perfect for therapy and weight bearing exercises.

Pedi Wrap:  Are arm braces that hold their position a little better and don't slide as much as the ones, however these are not custom, they come in set sizes and patterns.  You can call to ask for a specific type of pattern or color but you are limited to what they may have in stock.

Benik Hinged Elbow Support:  Is a bit more pricey but may be picked up by your insurance company with the proper paperwork.  This arm brace offers a custom fit and is adjustable so you can control your Rett Girl's range of motion.

Sleepy Cow Creations:  Has an arm brace much like the the Pedi Wrap only they are able to customize the size and the fabric.  They also have a very affordable price and for an additional charge they can make your girl a matching bib!

We hope that we have shed some light on different arm braces and the reasons for their use.  If your Rett Girl uses a different brand we would love to hear about them!  Send us a picture and give us a review here.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Bike Riding

Temperatures are starting to go up, days are getting longer, the sun is shinning and flowers are blooming! All signs of spring! What a wonderful time to get your Rett girl out and riding a bike while catching some Vitamin D!
Riding bikes is not only fun it also offers a huge list of benefits especially for our girls:

1. Cardiovascular health - like most aerobic exercise riding bikes works your heart muscle, keeping it healthy and strong

2. Increased strength - It goes without saying that pushing the peddles of a bike can help strengthen your legs but for our girls who are not able to push the peddles on their own even just sitting upright and balancing on the seat strengthens their core muscles

3. Constipation relief - riding a bike not only strengthens our outward muscles but it also works on our inner muscles, and for our Rett girls slow GI systems exercise is wonderful and can many times help alleviate occasional constipation

4. Flexibility - Riding a bike is great for flexibility it offers a gradual stretch each time the peddle moves out. Bike riding can also help with our girls that have stiff knee joints or who tend to lock their knees into position, it can really loosen them up.

If your Rett girl already has a bike and LOVES it let us know! Click HERE and submit a review and picture of your Rett girl on her bike!

If your girl does not yet have a bike we have a few suggestions!

The Freedom Concepts Discovery Trike is designed to assist children with mild to moderate physical disabilities. The basic features offer support for the little ones that need some extra help. And for the children that require more support, there are several accessories to choose from to provide just what is needed. There is a great review on our rett girl site with a link to go to to purchase it.

The AmTryke are unique tricycles, which can be hand and/or foot operated, are designed to accommodate riders of all ages, sizes, and varying degrees of physical limitations. There is a review of this trike on our website as well as a link that will get you to the manufacturer. An additional bonus is that this manufacturer (AMBUCS) has a "Wish list" for individuals with disabilities who cannot afford the cost of an AmTryke. They have required forms that can be filled out and submitted to the AMBUCS Resource Center, that person's name is placed on their Wish List. When a chapter raises the funds the next name is picked off the list, they are notified and the trike is shipped to their home.

If you have been searching for a bike and are in sticker shock don't get discouraged. Check out this blog post for a list of ways to help with funding. You could also enter the Great Bike Giveaway through May 10, 2012 for a chance to win a free adaptive bike! For more information and to enter click HERE

We encourage you to get your Rett Girl up and on a bike but if that is not possible for her or if her doctors or therapists have advised against it there are other options! Check out some of our bike seats and trailers HERE!

Happy Riding!