6-Year-Old Teaches Classmates about Prostheses and Orthoses

Posted On: May 8, 2013

At 6 years old, Elijah Brummond does everything a normal kindergartener would, from running and jumping to practicing tae kwon do. He does all of this using a prosthetic leg. Elijah’s foot and part of his leg did not fully develop while in-utero, the result of a condition called fibular hemimelia. When Elijah was a baby, his parents decided to have doctors at Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare amputate the affected foot. Then, when he was just 1 year old, Elijah got his first prosthetic, giving him lifelong independence and mobility.

John Sytniak, CPO, shows students how a myoelectric prosthesis works.

As a school-aged child, Elijah’s classmates often express curiosity about his prosthesis. And, like any 6-year-old, Elijah also has questions himself. To help educate Elijah and his classmates, his mother worked with Gillette prosthetist Michelle Hall, CPO, FAAOP, to organize a one-of-a-kind field trip to experience how prostheses and orthoses (braces) are used and made. During the April 24 field trip, the students were able to do things such as trial a myoelectric prosthetic arm, make a plaster mold of their thumb and foot, walk in prosthetic legs, and take a tour of Gillette’s Assistive Technology Department, where the prostheses are made.

The boots pictured behind Elijah allowed his classmates to experience what it feels like to walk with a prosthetic limb.

As April was Limb Loss Awareness Month, it provided a perfect opportunity to raise awareness about amputees and the importance of prosthetics. It also gave the children a glimpse into Elijah’s life as an amputee and how he uses his own prosthetic leg. Students had a great day—especially Elijah, who led the way for his classmates.