Thursday, February 19, 2009

Freedom Tripod LT Pediatric Wheelchair

I may have mentioned last fall, that we were in the process of getting Karter a wheelchair. Although he still fits in his stroller with much room to grow, we felt that with preschool coming in the fall, it was time to get him into something that would aid him well in the classroom setting. In addition, they fit him for a removable seat for the chair, that can come out and will support him much better than the couch or his bumbo.

We met with the equipment team at Surrey Child Development Centre a couple of times. They brought in a few different samples of things that they felt would aid Karter well. The first meeting however, they brought chairs that were much to involved for Karter. He did not need most of the supports and they were large and cumbersome.

Being a preschool teacher by trade, my first question was "How will he move around in the classroom in that?" To which they answered, "He won't". That was not good enough to me. The idea of putting him in the chair was to give him the possibility of independent mobility, not to segregate him even more. I asked that they bring in a chair that was child's height, fitting under a child size table but with the option to grow when he does. I also needed something that was light for me to lift in and out of the van and that was easily collapsible.

The second visit they brought in the perfect chair. It is called the Freedom Tripod. It is really easy to maneuver (for when he is able) and it is small - dare I even say, cute.

We chose "Octane Orange" with a black seat - sort of hot wheels car inspired (I think we will get him some flame stickers for it too :-)).

As I mentioned before, Karter did qualify for a government program that will cover the costs of his equipment. We are so thankful for this however, it has come with a few challenges.

After the quote was sent in, the finding program felt that the chair was a bit more expensive than a comparable one, so they had to get a second quote comparing the 2 chairs. The other chair however, was a bit bigger and was no longer suggested by the equipment team because it was fairly hard to maneuver.

They were literally bickering over about $150. This wheelchair needs to support him for 5 years, until we get another one (however we hope to not need another one by then). I talked with the physiotherapist to see if it is an option for us to pay the difference. She said that it was. So we have been approved for the funds of the cheaper chair, however are going to pay the extra so that Karter can have the one that will suit his needs the best. In the scheme of things, is is $30 a year.

So it will be ordered in a couple of week and we should have it near the end of April. I looked online to see if there were a couple of pictures I could show you. I found a couple, although the don't really show well and some have add on's that Karter's chair will not have. But it will give you an idea anyway.

Friday, February 13, 2009


Ok, I mentioned awhile back that I would get a riding video of Karter's first day up. Honestly, I kind of forgot about it until I was talking with someone tonight about Karter's riding.

With the kids in bed and my hubby at hockey, what better time than today!?! So here it is. The quality is not great because I took it on my digital camera (I forgot the video camera that day).

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Some more info on hippotherapy

What Is Hippotherapy?:

Speech & Hippotherapy:

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Check this out!

I had a woman comment the other day about Karter's riding and the bolster that they use to stabilize him on the horse. She is a Occupation Therapist, I believe from Australia, who also assists children in Hippotherapy.

She had asked to post some of Karter's pictures on her blog. We agreed. You can check out the post on her blog here. She has a lot of really great ideas on her blog for assisting children like Karter with different challenges. Check it out if you have a chance. Also, she has a website too, here.

Monday, February 9, 2009

The benefits of hippotherapy

A number of people have asked me what we expect Karter's riding therapy to do for him. What is its intended purpose? I found a great article on the web that explains really well what it is and what the benefits are. I thought that you might be interested in the info.

The Benefits of Hippotherapy

"Hippotherapy offers the potential for improvement in the following areas: arousal and attention, balance strategies, belief in one's functional capabilities, bilateral integration, body awareness, circulation, dynamic postural stability, endurance, expressive or receptive speech and language, midline orientation, mobility of pelvis, spine and hip joints,modification of muscle tonus,motivation, muscle strength, musculoskeletal alignment, neurogenic bladder, neuromotor function, oral-motor function, posture, problem-solving movement strategies in different environments, respiratory function, self confidence, sensorimotor integration, symmetry and alignment, and timing and coordination of motor strategies." (American Hippotherapy Association, 2000) The therapist is able to utilize the movement of the horse to assist during therapy just as a home therapist may utilize the use of a specific toy or therapy ball. This movement is unique and cannot be imitated by any other available therapy equipment.

Why does it work for so many?

Hippotherapy is a multi dimensional therapy in that it allows therapists to address numerous skills at one time. While the patient is riding the horse, they receive constant sensory input from the horse including vestibular, proprioceptive, tactile, auditory, olfactory and visual. The vestibular system, the system that controls balance and equilibrium, is stimulated because the patient is on a dynamic surface. The therapist also enhances this input by having the patient change positions on the horse. These positions cause movement in the inner ear, the part of the body that controls balance. By stimulating this area, the ability to process vestibular input improves. Proprioception is the body's ability to know where it is in space. The body receives proprioceptive input when the nerve endings In the muscles and skin are stimulated, which happens when a part of the body is touched or moved, even by gravity or air. Normal functioning systems allow a person to close their eyes and still know where their arm ends, for example. When a person rides a horse the lower extremities receive proprioceptive input from touch the horse. When you add in movement, which causes bouncing the entire body receives this input. The therapist can also enhance this input by having the patient change positions on the horse, having more or less of the body touching the horse. Both of these systems and also the tactile system, work closely together and are all stimulated when a patient is simply trying to maintain balance on the horse in order to not fall off. The touch, sights, sounds and smells of the horse and the barn contribute to stimulating the other sensory systems. During therapy, most of these systems are stimulated on a subcortical level because the patient is focusing on the activity, such as throwing the ball, and not consciously processing the sensory input. Because of this, carryover frequently occurs and integration is morecommon.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

The update thus far....

The neuro nurse called today with another update. Although the neurologist has not been able to spend a lot of time viewing Karter's EEG findings, she has decided that it would be worthwhile to talk to the nuerosurgeon again about the possibility of more surgery. The meeting will happen in March, when she returns to regular practice. In the meantime, we will be increasing once again Karter's medication. This should help control the seizures a bit better.

In other news, we are still working to get Karter a stander and a wheelchair. We had chosen a stander back in the fall, however I needed to get additional funding for it from an additional organization. Today, I chatted with the physiotherapist and she let me know that the Red Cross has one right now that is similar one that we would not need additional dollars for. We are trying to find out if we can try the stander from the Red Cross first before we commit to it.

The Red Cross has an equipment 'bank'. Basically, any equipment we receive with At Home dollars(that is the government program Karter is on)is returned back to the Red Cross when we are finished or have grown out of it. Once returned, additional dollars are released for us to purchase something that fits him at that stage. Then those in need have a bank to draw from. People who are not on assistance or cannot afford to purchase brand new equipment, can get equipment from there.

The wheelchair is another story. We picked one out that met the strict criteria that I had. Basically, it needed to be small enough that it could move freely within a classroom setting, low enough that it was at child's level and it had to be light enough for me to lift in and out of the van with ease. The At Home program has since some back to our physiotherapist and asked her to get another quote on a different, cheaper chair. I am not sure that it fits our criteria, so I am a bit frustrated, as is the physiotherapist. She says they are quibbling over a few hundred dollars. If it comes down to it, I think we will find the money to pay the difference so that Karter can have the one that best suits him.

So at this point, we are praying for favor and that the equipment Karter receives is what best suits his needs. Although we are so thankful that we do not need to pay for it out of our own pocket and we will be thankful for whatever we get, we do want it to be able to give Karter the greatest opportunity at independance as possible.

I will post a couple of pictures of the equipment later when we confirm what he will be receiving.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Over the last few weeks....

Here are a few randoms from the last few weeks.

Paige asks often to 'snuggle Karter'. Here they are in the playroom watching a show together.

Here is a shot of Karter just before his first riding lesson. This is the outfit he got for Christmas from my parents. The chaps, hat and boots.

Here is week 2 riding...

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On another note....

I had a call yesterday from the nuerology nurse. She let me know that indeed what they captured on EEG was seizures. The neurologist will look at the EEG a bit closer this week and let us know the specifics of it at that time.