When your child needs an orthopedic brace or prosthetic, a thousand thoughts and emotions are racing through your mind. You may be worried, sad, frustrated, confused, overwhelmed, and even angry. Your child shouldn’t have to struggle; they shouldn’t have to give up favorite activities or feel “different” from their peers. The good news is that when they are fitted with the proper brace or prosthetic, they won’t. They’ll live full, healthy, and happy lives - just like kids should.

For parents, though, the question is how to start the process? Where do you turn for help? Research is a critical step; not only will you get the answers you need; you’ll empower yourself and equip yourself with the tools to help your child through this challenging time.

When you have a child, your top priority is protecting them and keeping them safe from harm. When they experience health and medical issues that are outside of your control, you feel powerless. You wish you could take away their pain, discomfort, and struggles; you’d trade places with them in a second. This isn’t possible, of course, but you can help them adjust to their orthopedic brace or prosthetic device, overcome challenges, and live a full, happy life.

There is no doubt that adjusting to life with an artificial limb is challenging: in fact, it may be the biggest challenge you’ve faced yet. And that means it can also be your biggest triumph. Regaining mobility and functionality with help from a prosthetic device can allow you to participate in and enjoy activities, to engage in meaningful work, to achieve your goals, and to live a full, satisfying life. But there is also a learning curve. What are the keys to navigating this often complex process?

Born without a right leg, it was apparent from day one that nothing was going to stop me. I’ve always needed a prosthesis that could keep up with me, not limit me. But convincing insurance companies has been my biggest challenge. Just getting by isn’t good enough. Being an example – now that’s important to me. It’s what I’ve always tried to be. Access to quality prosthetic care for people with limb loss and limb difference is essential to life. Speak up for yourself. Speak out for others. No is not an answer. - Sean Donnelly