A child’s first prosthesis is a big milestone in their life. There’s a lot that comes with it: learning how to master something that may be difficult at first; the emotional turmoil that may come with having to wear a prosthesis; the response your child will get from others.
Parents can really help their children in these times to better cope with their prosthetic device and learn how to wear one well - both physically and emotionally.
Here are things you should cover with your child to help them adjust to the idea of wearing a prosthesis moving forward.
Teach Them Basic Care
A child can better cope with wearing a prosthesis if they are taught how to care for it. Indeed, learning to care for a prosthetic device can make the child more accepting of it - especially for younger children.
Basic care includes cleaning the liner, when and where to remove the prosthesis, how to keep the device away from water, sunscreen, bug spray, and other substances that may harm it, and the importance of resting their residual limb as needed.
For older children, you can also teach them sock management, which helps them get more acquainted with the routine they’ll develop to care for the device.
Talk Honestly With Them
A lot of honest conversations are necessary if your child is going to adjust in a healthy way.
The younger the child, the more accepting they will generally be toward the device. Very young children, such as toddlers, may be more curious than anything. You should still speak only positively about the device to them, and don’t treat them as different. They will, after all, follow your lead with how to deal with the device just like they do on everything else.
For school-age children, how other children respond to the device will be a big concern. You can’t control what other kids say or do, but you can help your child deal with all types of responses, and maintain positive self-esteem in the process. Let them know that other kids may not approve, but that speaks more to their character than the character of your child.
For teens, body image issues will usually emerge. Speak honestly about them and the insecurity they may feel. Let them vent their concerns, and listen to them without trying to change their mind. Help them come to terms with the prosthesis as a new part of their lifestyle and positively reinforce them at all times.
Get Them In Touch with Others in the Limb Loss Community
Community is such an important part of adapting to any major life change, such as limb loss.
There are others out there just like your child who have gone through a wide gamut of experiences. Their insight - and friendship - will be invaluable to your child. It can be something as simple as letting your toddler or young child play with other amputees. For older children, getting them in touch with peers or older mentors will be a major boon.
Life isn’t over when you lose a limb, and that’s a key message you’ll need to impart to your child. Follow these steps and your child will be better for it.
BioTech designs and manufactures prosthetic devices for people suffering from limb loss. We treat every patient with compassion and respect, and work hard to deliver superior service and prosthetic devices that change lives. Recognize your possibilities. Contact us today for more information.