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news News Monday, June 8, 2020 Monday, June 8, 2020 2:39 PM - Monday, June 8, 2020 2:39 PM

Functional prosthesis helps support teen’s academic interests

Functional prosthesis helps support teen’s academic interests

Growing up, Haider was always open to trying new things, even if it meant doing things a little differently than other kids around him. He was born with two fingers and a thumb on his left hand, and an elbow joint with a short forearm stump on his right arm. Haider has a limb deficiency known as bilateral ulnar dysplasia.

Haider, like many kids with a congenital limb difference, quickly adapted to performing different daily tasks and activities without a prosthesis. Haider is now 13, and as his interests grow, so do his physical needs. While making models in his robotics class, Haider realized that he needed help holding different objects to complete his projects. Not wanting to give up the class, he adapted by placing objects on the floor or had friends help him hold something when needed.

“I recalled seeing different types of prostheses, and asked if he wanted to try something that could help him hold objects,” his mother, Syeda, said. “That’s when we decided to seek care at Shriners Hospitals.”

Haider has worn prostheses in the past, but they were static and had no functionality. He said he did not use them because it often felt like it was just added weight with no movement. He wanted a prosthesis that was not limited to cosmetic purposes, so the prosthetics team at Shriners Hospitals for Children — Houston got to work for him.

At Shriners Hospitals for Children, prosthetists and orthotists work with physicians and therapists in an interdisciplinary approach to ensure patients' needs are being met. They are careful to ensure that the fit and comfort of a prosthesis is optimal for each patient. Keeping in mind the purpose of the device, multiple fittings may be needed before a prosthesis can be successfully used. A prosthetic is often most successful when you have a specific purpose for it. In Haider’s case, he said he is eager to try it in his engineering class, where he handles different objects to complete tasks.

“I knew where I was lacking, and this new prosthesis is specifically to fulfill those needs. I hope to be able to hold an object while working on it, instead of rotating it, placing it down or asking for help,” said Haider.

In addition to prosthetic services, Haider has received outpatient occupational therapy to strengthen his arm muscles and left hand. He has previously worked on exercises to help him grasp and hold different objects. Haider also received occupational therapy to help him acclimate to his new prosthesis.

“The amount of effort they have put to make a specialized prosthesis for me does not go unnoticed, and I’m really grateful for the work they do,” Haider said. “I have felt very comfortable with the team at Shriners [Hospitals for Children].”