Wyatt De Groot calls his ankle foot orthosis (AFO) his “armour”, enjoying the design and dark sky colour choice. He feels more confident with it on, as his parents explained it would help make his leg stronger. It has improved his fluidity and made his brace less awkward for him as he is able to take it off by himself but needs help putting it on.
The AFO was purchased with financial assistance from the Cerebral Palsy Association of BC (CPABC). In keeping with its dedication to help people living with cerebral palsy enjoy Life Without Limits, the CPABC offers financial assistance for the purchase of assistive devices for up to eight members per year. Often this includes communication aids such as writing tablets, but it also includes supports for hearing, vision, home accessibility and mobility.
Melissa, Wyatt’s mom, noticed improved movement as soon as he began wearing his AFO. He is a very active boy and has had increased success in physical games while wearing his orthosis. “Wyatt participates in daily physical activity and gym with his classmates with fewer adaptations than we thought necessary, wearing his AFO,” says Melissa. “We are looking at ways to accommodate his AFO for class activities like skating.”
The financial burden of Wyatt’s AFO was something we were not expecting. It was such a relief to get some support from the Cerebral Palsy Association.”
– Melissa, parent of a child with CP
His mom explained that Wyatt’s motor skills were not developed enough for skating, but he has had great success playing sledge hockey. Responding to feedback on his AFO, he explains to his peers that it makes his leg stronger, and his teacher has helped explain the device to his classmates. He says most of his classmates have been understanding and supportive of the adaptions made for him.
Wyatt was not diagnosed with CP until almost the age of four, and in the past two years it has seemed that every doctor’s visit brings a new diagnosis and a new worry. The AFO is Wyatt’s first such device, and the cost was $2,000, travelling two and a half hours hours each way, getting fitted, and making any necessary adjustments. Prior to the AFO, Melissa explained that they had to pay $500 for in-shoe orthotics/night splints over two years alone, and often needed new footwear. “The Cerebral Palsy Association of BC helped our family and Wyatt with financial assistance and information,” said Melissa. “The financial burden of Wyatt’s AFO was something we were not expecting. It was such a relief to get some support from the Cerebral Palsy Association.”
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