Helping Children with Limb Disabilities: No matter where they live in the world, children with limb disabilities experience struggles that many of us never have to face. Without treatment, a child with congenital disorders like Spina Bifida or cerebral palsy could face a lifetime of missed opportunities: he or she may never attend school, find a job, or lead a self-sufficient life.
Simply being fitted with a leg support brace (which costs an average of $25) is enough to dramatically improve the life of a child with Spina Bifida or cerebral palsy. The brace can be used to correct movement, reduce the amount of weight placed on a limb and help a child stand more easily.
2013 Honoree C. Mead Welles of A Leg To Stand On (ALTSO) has provided orthopedic care for more than 9,000 children with limb disabilities in 10 developing countries. One of those children is Lee Linda, a young girl from Cambodia, who is now able to attend school, thanks to leg support braces and physiotherapy:
Until the age of 7, Linda did not want to go to school; she had extreme difficulty walking, and other children often bullied her because of her disability. To make matters worse, Linda’s Spina Bifida caused incontinence, which meant that she had to wear a diaper at all times.
“What I really want is that my daughter is able to walk and can go to school like other children,” Linda’s mother said.
Now, 9-year-old Linda is walking independently and back in school, where she often gets the highest scores in class. Her mother is overjoyed.
ALTSO’s goal is to provide high-quality, continuous care for each patient until the age of 18; for Linda, this means ongoing check-ups and new leg braces as she grows into an adult.