Pediatrics More Than Just Small Adults

Fitting children with prostheses and orthoses is significantly different than serving adults with similar needs, and our professional staff at Snell Prosthetics & Orthotics embraces and addresses that difference with a specialized approach to pediatric care. Like adults, no two children are alike–each has their own story, their own unique physical and emotional makeup and their own social needs. But unlike most adults, children are not yet equipped with the experience, knowledge, emotional maturity and physical stamina to respond to a medical issue in the same way; so we strive to customize a more sensitive and caring relationship as well as a prosthetic or orthotic solution designed especially for each child. We work with pediatricians, occupational and physical therapists, and other caregivers to achieve the best possible outcomes for each child we serve.

From newborns to adolescents, and whether the issue is a birth defect, injury, or illness, Snell practitioners stand ready to deliver a full range of quality pediatric care. The process begins with a thorough pediatric evaluation, which includes garnering all available information from the child’s physicians and therapists. Based upon our assessment and data, we are then able to formulate a plan of care that includes precisely measuring our patient to guarantee they receive the best fit as well as the most appropriate device possible. Measurements can be done in the form of casting, numerical measurements, or digital scans of the affected area. Your practitioner’s experience and judgment guides them in choosing the most effective measuring methodology for each child.

Based on those measurements, the definitive prosthesis or orthosis can then be fitted to the child. Once we are satisfied with the fit, the patient, along with their parents, will be instructed on how to wear and care for their new device. 

For some, the fitting of the device might be regarded as the final step in the process of caring for a patient; for us, it’s just the beginning. To Snell professionals, prosthetic and orthotic care represents a lifetime commitment to caring for each child as he grows, for as long as such care is needed. Our practitioners frequently sit in on rehabilitation sessions to make sure the device is working as it should, so that your child can progress as rapidly as possible. Our focus is on not only recognizing and addressing problems as they arise, but anticipating and preventing them.

Your child’s success in reaching their goal depends not only on the right prosthesis or orthosis, but on the right rehabilitation team and the right ongoing care, based on an attentive, dedicated partnership we share with others committed to your child’s progress. This traditional Snell philosophy has earned us the trust of generations of young patients whose accomplishments we continue to treasure.

Pediatric Orthotics

Orthotic devices are intended to help improve the muscular or skeletal structure of the body. They can be used for a variety of reasons — such as assisting in the post-surgery recovery process, correcting problematic birth defects, accommodating muscle weakness due to injuries or illness, or managing issues like scoliosis. Treating pediatric patients requires not only patience and understanding, but extensive knowledge of pediatric anatomy and how the ideal orthosis should function to correct and support each child, as needed.

The process begins with an initial evaluation, during which our professionals will examine your child and consult their physicians and therapists. Factors like age, body type, condition, injury or illness, activity level, and more will all play a role in determining the orthotic device that is right for your child.

Once the evaluation is complete, your child will be measured and fit with their orthosis. A good fit is essential in achieving optimal results, so we take whatever time is necessary to ensure that the orthosis fits properly and your child is comfortable. After the fitting is complete, you and your child will receive instruction to help you both thoroughly understand how the device works, when to take it off, how to care for and maintain it, and how to don it properly. 

Because continued care is essential to each child’s success with their orthosis, our practitioners routinely attend therapy sessions and work closely with your child’s rehabilitation team to ensure that proper progress is being made. As children age and grow, their device may no longer fit the way it should. Our experienced orthotists recognize those changes and make necessary modifications to the orthosis as soon as they are detected. Such timeliness in performing adjustments is just part of our continuing commitment to help your child succeed.

Note: In Arkansas, cranial remolding helmets (orthoses) designed to treat positional plagiocephaly in infants are exclusively provided by Arkansas Children’s Hospital. Snell Prosthetics & Orthotics does not fit cranial remolding helmets.

Pediatric Prosthetics

Many of the challenges of wearing prostheses are experienced by wearers of all ages, but children face some unique challenges. The years of experience shared by our prosthetic professionals, however, have prepared them to resolve problems and provide each child with the best possible prostheses, regardless of their age or individual situation.

An initial evaluation will help your pediatric practitioner to select wisely from the numerous componentry options available for both upper and lower limb prostheses. Our practitioners stay abreast of the latest state-of-the-art prosthetic technology and methods in order to ensure their patients a broader range of appropriate choices, since getting the right fit and the correct components will have a huge impact on how comfortably a child uses their prosthesis and seamlessly incorporates it into their daily life.

The challenge of physically, mentally, and socially adjusting to life with a prosthesis begins as soon as the child has received their first device. While children can be very sensitive, they are also very adaptable. Help from our experienced team, working closely with your child’s physicians and therapists, ensures that the adjustment process is as smooth as possible.

Children outgrow their prostheses as quickly as they outgrow their shoes or jeans, so lower extremity devices need to be monitored particularly closely to ensure that no mobility problems arise due to rapid growth spurts in the child’s height. That’s why we schedule regular follow-up visits which give us an opportunity to check your child’s measurements, examine their prosthesis for wear and tear, and provide the needed adjustments to maintain its correct comfortable and functional fit.

Today’s prosthetic options have come a long way from just providing basic support for essential mobility. Now, specialized components enable children to participate in a wide variety of sports. outdoor activities, and other endeavors. As we learn where their interests lie, our team can provide the device that fits them best and lets them enjoy being a kid!