Wednesday, August 18, 2010

SMO Guilt

SMOs (small ankle braces designed to provide support and proprioceptive input) have been the bane of my existence for several months. My life is crazy. It is summer and all the kids stay barefoot, donning flip-flops only if we leave the house. Putting socks, tennis shoes, and SMOs on Eon first thing in the morning and again after nap time was not working for me. I kept trying to find a way to make it work, but mostly I just lived with nagging guilt that he wasn't wearing them as much as he should.

Then, I began to notice that, without them, he was standing independently and even taking steps. With them, he would barely pull to stand and cruise. He spent a great deal of time pulling at the straps of his shoes trying to take them off. I felt like they were interfering with his independence and mobility.

Remembering that the PT was uncertain initially if he even needed them, I decided to approach her and confess my negligence in this area. When she showed up last week, he was barefoot. I told her all I just shared with you. She agreed with me that we don't want to slow him down and that we can add them back in once ambulation becomes his primary mode of mobility. I was thrilled and amazingly relieved! It's the first time I've bucked the system, so to speak. (Well, except for when I d/c'd OT, but I am an OT, so that shouldn't count...right?)

This week, we met at the park for PT and she was amazed with all he could do. He climbed the stairs and she worked with him on coming down (not so great at that, yet:), he climbed the slide, took a step or two in the mulch, stood independently for over a minute several times, and took several steps in a row on the pavement. He was wearing his shoes, but no SMOs. I think he enjoyed showing off! He also learned the word "hot" from where the sun was shining on the equipment and used it repeatedly! He did so much more at the park that we're meeting there next week, too.

Oh! She was letting him rest on her lap in the shade for a minute and he started signing "play". That's the first time he's used that sign without prompting. That was our added bonus for the day! :)


  1. I would have to say I agree with you on the ankle braces. Over here we tend to look for supportive shoes first and foremost, and Luke has a slight issue with one ankle, but he was doing better without the shoes, so until he learned to walk I just kept him in soft shoes with the physio's blessing. We are now looking at getting orthotics for his shoe, but he may not need them. From what I can see you have a lot of interventions in the states, some of which I envy, but as an outsider it sometimes seems like there is medicalisation of DS, which sometimes puts in interventions which we don't. So there are pluses and minuses for both.

    Mel :)

  2. I have been so bad about the orthotics this summer also. I hate socks and shoes in the summer - I just felt bad seeing Anna in socks, and orthotics, and shoes. It looked so hot (and not is a good way).
    And - like you, I feel like she is much more mobile and active with them off.

    But, I do notice that her right foot really turns out when she is pushing her wagon around. And, she has a tendency to lock that knee quite a bit --- things she does not do w/ her othortics on.

    So, I guess I have to find a good balance between wearing them to get proper support and alignment, and not wearing them to encourage forward developmental progress.

    Does the guilt ever end? :)

  3. Mel, I completely agree with the medicalisation of Ds, here. Lisa, on Finnian's Journey, just wrote a post about being sick of taking Finn for appointments "just in case". I couldn't agree more!
    Lori, I don't think the guilt has stopped with ANY of my kids, so I shouldn't be surprised I have so much with Eon. Just part of being a mom, I guess.

  4. Yea!! What a sweet day! I also sent a "note" through BBC. I used to live in Greenwood, IN and have a friend that may be interested in going to the local Buddy Walk. When and where is your buddy walk? Thanks!! Anna (momvenus3 from BBC)

  5. Hey Tara, have you heard of the small little braces that fit in the shoe called "Sure Steps". Mattie is not standing independtly yet, but everyone at the DS playgroup swears they are the best things. Sounds like Eon is moving up a storm. I think my little guy is a bit lazy! Be encouraged, Eon is doing so well!