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From the editor: Seeing Yourself

Children with lower extremity conditions and injuries rarely flip open a book or watch a movie or TV show in which they read about or see other children like them, who might wear a brace, use an assistive device, or need treatment from practitioners like orthotists, podiatrists, and physical therapists.

Children use toys and media characters to spark their imaginations and cast themselves as the star of their own stories. Through play, they connect with other kids and dream about their future. Yet kids with lower extremity conditions rarely find themselves or their challenges reflected in dolls, books, or other types of entertainment.

Earlier this year writer Jill Dorson covered the scarcity of media characters and toys with which kids who have a lower extremity condition can identify (See “Media, toys, and games for kids with disabilities,” February 2018, page 15).

That article also highlighted a rarity: a storybook called Beau and His New AFO written by three Canadian orthotic technicians. They wrote it, they said, “to normalize what it means to have an AFO or device.”

Now, another lower extremity practitioner has stepped up to contribute to the small collection of books in which her patients can see themselves and learn about the treatment she provides.

Benji Bounces Back: A Story About What It’s Like to Need Physical Therapy, introduces children to the concept of physical therapy, covering a young boy’s course of care from accident to recovery, and providing a lot of education along the way. It’s now available on Amazon.com.

Author Smita Charate, PT, wrote the book after she noticed that “children who come for physical therapy are often frightened because they don’t know anything about it.” She noted, “Concerned parents asked me about the availability of books that might introduce a child to the experience, so I searched and searched only to discover there was nothing.”

So, she wrote one. If you’ve ever felt inspired to write a book or develop a toy or game that demystifies what you do for your young patients—or gives them an opportunity to see someone like themselves in media—2019 could be a great year to create it.

By Emily Delzell, Senior Editor


Kids with Down syndrome have an increased risk of arthritis

Delayed diagnosis leads to joint damage – Arthritis in Down syndrome, or Down syndrome arthropathy, remains underrecognized, according to research from Kansas City, Missouri, that found that while treatment with several classes of medications leads to a significant reduction in active and limited joints, treatment approach, optimal therapy, and escalation are unclear.

By Katie Bell

Yoga improves gait, quality of life in obese adolescents

Practice may help kids get active – Iyengar yoga can improve both malalignment of the lower extremities during ambulation as well as emotional functioning in children with obesity, according to a pilot study from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, supporting a role for yoga in pediatric obesity.

By Katie Bell

High-intensity intervals more enjoyable than moderate activity    

Challenging activity boosts good feelings – Despite greater rates of perceived exertion teens do not find high-intensity interval exercise (HIIE) unpleasant, and in fact report greater postexercise enjoyment than after completing moderate-intensity interval exercise (MIIE), according to research from the UK.

By Hank Black


HHS updates federal physical activity guidelines

The new federal physical activity guidelines include the first-ever recommendations for children aged 3 to 5 years, as well as updated guidelines for older kids. Here, we cover what you need to know about the new advice and offer tips from experts to help kids with lower extremity conditions get and stay active.

By Keith Loria

Transitions: Helping kids make the leap to adult care

In healthcare, transition refers to planning for and making the move from child to adult services. When the process isn’t managed well, young adults can fall into gaps in care and declining function, health, and quality of life. Transition takes provider time and energy, but reimbursement is available.

By Emily Delzell