Saturday, October 24, 2009

Jeremy's new arm/hand

We went to Shriners Oct 7/8 and Jeremy rec'd his first prosthetic. We did not expect an actual hand, but rather a type of utility tool to aid him in some life skills. So in some ways we were excited to see this neat little hand, but questioned if it was going to actually help him the ways we had hoped.

Jeremy was very thrilled to actually pick things up and pinch them for the first time with only one extremity. If he was sitting still waiting for the next thing to do, or while we were playing cards, you would catch him using the right hand to squeeze his left "blobby/appendage". This is something he could never do before - kind of like twiddling your thumbs, he will squeeze, release, squeeze, release. He astounded the Occupational Therapist with how quickly he learned to use the hand. The OT said it usually takes the entire first session (at least) for the child to learn what Jeremy learned coming up the stairs from the prosthetic room to the therapy room. He could pick up nearly anything she placed before him. She quickly shifted to teaching him how much pressure to squeeze with by placing various spongy blocks, balls on the table - then asked him to pick this one up without squishing it or pick this other one up and squish it completely. She would hold her hand, palm side up about 1-2 feet above the table and tell him to place it in her hand while maintaining the requested pressure. He accomplished each feat correctly the first time with every request. You will see in the video how he uses his left arm to pull on the cord to close the fingers - and the arm points out like a child with her tongue out to the side while carefully coloring! The OT and I caught this at the same time and just laughed.

I did ask him to give my nose a squeeze - BIG mistake!!! OUCH!! The hand is "at rest" in the open position so he must think and keep the tension to keep it closed. The "hands" that are at rest in the closed position and must be consciously opened are typically hooks - the therapist said children don't take as well to them due to how they look. It would be much easier for him to open on demand, close onto a toy (light saber, bat) and then be free to do what he wants with it - not having to maintain muscle control from the left to keep his right "hand" closed.

The OT said he needs an elbow joint to straighten or bend to do more things, but this is the first step in getting started with prosthetics. As well as he did with each task, the hand does not, unfortunately, help him with much of anything day to day. It does NOT help him eat, write, color or toilet. He can not pull down or pull up his pants while he has the hand on. So, he does not use it day to day. He will put it on and do some tasks as we ask him, but then it comes off. This is fine - the folks at Shriners know that he will likely do most things with his natural arms and only use a prosthetic for certain tasks. We have not found too many everyday tasks that the hand actually helps him do better yet. He had adapted so well previously. I do believe a longer prosthetic with a jointed elbow would help him more, but we don't return to Shriners until February. The waiting game. So we will continue to have him practice with what he has and master what he can. Then we will go to the next step next year.

Below you will see what Jeremy did right off the bat with the therapist. What a quick learner!!

Whatcha think, Charis???




The Chapmans said...


It helps Jeremy do things. When he grows up, he will have a job. It looks cool! Do you like it? Have a good time with it. Charis

Just Me said...

I had to show Tacia the video of her little buddy and she was so impressed! She thinks Jeremy looks great! Please tell him hello from us!

Blessings, Lisa C.

Leslie said...

Such a quick learner Jeremy is. I am impressed with how well he was doing after such a short time.