22 August 2010

Will Vera Walk?

I don't know.

We don't think so far. For us, it's one step at a time. Literally.

Does it matter if she does or doesn't? Actually, not really.

What matters is if it makes her happy. And boy, does standing make her happy. Taking a few shaky steps forward, also makes her happy.

Because it does, I'm gonna do what it takes to help her along.

First, we have to get Vera to stand on her own. And our little friend has always loved to stand.

From us supporting her at the armpits, she can now do it with us holding just her hands. It is the one activity that brings her much joy in her waking hours.

She enjoys shifting her weight around and seems particularly proud of herself when she tries to be more upright.

Alas, some of the characteristics of Trisomy 18 children are Club Feet and Rocker Bottom Feet.

Rocker bottom feet

As you can see in the picture above, Vera has a bit of the latter. The bottom is curved like a rocking chair. It prevents the lift-and-push forward, which is needed for walking.

This malformation result in the uneven distribution of weight, and thus causes inner pronation when she stands. But because the little girl enjoys standing so much (and we love to let her stand) the inner bone of her feet has started to protrude (pix below) to bear her weight.

Protruding bone

Her feet are a really strange shape as well. Longer that usual for her age.

To prevent her feet from continuing to develop in an abnormal manner, we have to get an AFO (Ankle-Foot Orthosis) custom made for her. This is something she will wear that moulds to her feet and is intended to control position and motion of the ankle, compensate for weakness, or correct deformities.

We are currently waiting for something like this to be brought in to the Singapore Foot Care & Limb Design Centre from the US, so that it can be custom fitted for young children like Vera.

It is made of softer plastic by Cascade Dafo, unlike the standard AFOs which are made of a harder, stiffer material.

We hope to get it done soon, so we can give Vera all the support she needs to begin standing on her own two feet.