Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Standing Up–HKAFOs for Mason!

100_1433Today Grandma came over to watch the siblings while Mason went to get fitted for his HKAFOs.  Remember last time we had to come home without them because things needed changed and customized.  We started out relaxing and looking at books until the orthotist arrived.  Much to our surprise he had taken the time to put the AFOs and plastic for the back on to the frame already, saving us some time.  Just a few minutes and this is what we had:100_1438Mason wasn’t sure about it all at first but he quickly decided standing was better than he thought.  He had been crying when we laid him down to strap him in.  He stopped shortly after he realized he was upright.100_1436Only one thing stood out as needing adjusted.  If you look closely at this picture you see Mason’s right knee is bent forward.  Apparently this joint is looser and needs extra support.  100_1444We played in the brace for a while so a special strap could be crafted.  Then we had to give up the brace so the new strap could be riveted in place.  It worked perfectly and we were on our way home!100_1446Mason’s siblings had many questions when we brought the HKAFOs home.  Why does he need them?  What do they do?  Can they have some cool braces too?  I love the enthusiasm and easy acceptance children have of new things.100_1448Mason got to play standing up at the couch for the first time.  It was sweet to watch him enjoy new things.  100_1453Doesn’t this face say it all?  He was thrilled to be standing.100_1461Here is a closer look at the fun design on the plastic portions of his HKAFOs. 

Where do we go from here?  Well, we don’t know.  We have our Physical Therapist in next Monday and she’ll help us set some goals on how long to use the HKAFOs each day.  Until then we’re doing 15 minutes a few times a day.  After each turn we have to check all of his skin to see if any places are rubbing or putting pressure on Mason’s skin. 

What are some of the benefits to Mason with just standing?

  • Strengthening his bones.
  • Working core muscles and balance in a new way.
  • Developmental strides as he sees and interacts with the world from a new perspective.
  • Improved bowel movements.

That’s what’s new in our corner of the world!


  1. Seeing him up and standing is so exciting :) Such a big boy!!

  2. That is so fantastic. He looks so happy to finally be up at the couch!

  3. I'm so excited for him! He's making such great progress and is such a happy looking boy.

  4. How exciting! I'm happy for him!

  5. Oh he looks so happy to be standing up to play! :) Such a sweet boy, I love reading about how he's doing.

  6. Very cool! I love his huge smile as he stands and plays.

  7. Oh wow! He looks so proud, and he should be!

  8. Yay Mason now you can see all of your siblings better and make more messes for Mommy!:)

  9. I am so happy for little Mason and all of you! What a wonderful thing for him to be able to experience a new perpsective of the world, and for you all to be able to enjoy that with him!

  10. Ok so I have read the most recent posts and was waiting to see if you elaborated. Why will these improve his bowel movements? And are these types of braces used for older children? Teenagers/adults? Or will that depend on if you are able to get the platform thing to go along with it. Meaning that is there any benefit to a ten year old standing in these braces. It is super exciting for a baby who can now reach and explore and expand his world, but are they something that is a permanent part of Mason's life or just for these exploratory young years?
    All of questions aside, it is such a joyful thing to see him standing and learning and being happy about what he accomplished. I just love Mason.
    Another random and personal thought...what a blessing that Mason came where he did in the line-up. You have so many helpers to cycle through helping him and picking things up for him--he'll get so much more time than if it was just mama. I love that Heavenly Father has given our children to us in a certain order that fits into his plan and is a blessing to the family. Several of my children are screaming now so I cannot proof this for emotional appropriateness. Or spelling.

  11. Katie - Sorry to be so vague! It helps to know a little about the bowels. Typical bowels have a wave-like series of movements that move waste down the colon and ultimately out of the body. Many people with Spina Bifida have a neurogenic bowel (and bladder). This can mean a few things, all nerve related. The nerves may be uncordinated in their wave-like movements, they may not feel any senstion of needing to poop or even any sensation in the bottom. All of this makes it harder to coordinate pooping and more likely that constipation will happen.

    Standing helps the body naturally with coordinating these internal muscle movements as well as pressure on the whole system to actually poop. In a standing position Mason is using his abdominal muscles actively to balance, turn, lean, etc. These muscles coordinate with the muscles we would use to 'bear down' and encourage his bowels to work.

    Weird, but true!


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