Smaller patients, bigger challenges
Children are not simply smaller versions of adults, and therefore their healthcare shouldn’t be a scaled-down version of adult management. We know this. But every once in a while we come across a poignant reminder of just how important that maxim is.
Some of you may remember the popular feature we published in LER on the challenges faced by wearers of ankle foot orthoses with regard to clothing styles (see “Finding fashion options that accommodate AFOs,” August 2013, page 25). This isn’t something you’ll read about in the medical literature, but it can make a big difference to a patient’s quality of life.
The same writer, Shalmali Pal, explored the same topic for this issue of LER:Pediatrics and found that while AFOs certainly can pose a stylistic challenge for many adults, having to make clothing choices work with AFOs can be an even bigger deal for kids.
For children, clothing choices are about independence. Picking out an outfit is one of the first memories most of us have of doing something for ourselves that a parent had typically always done for us. Yes, the stylishness of our efforts might have been questionable, but at least most of us didn’t have leg braces to complicate the process.
For children, clothing choices are also about identity, about standing out from the crowd or fitting in. Sometimes it’s great to make a statement with colorful AFOs, but other times a kid just wants to be able to wear the same skinny jeans as everyone else.
Children are not simply smaller versions of adults. Sometimes they’re much more complicated. And that’s what LER: Pediatrics is all about.
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