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Two-Year-Old Addison Shows What it Means to be Resilient

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Addison, wearing her AFOs, enjoys riding her tricycle, which is adapted with straps, so her feet stay on the pedals.

It may come as no surprise that one of Addison’s favorite colors is pink. Pink and purple to be exact and a personality to match. “She’s a spitfire,” says her mom, Alanna Mattimore.

Addison’s personality has served her well amidst the myriad of challenges she has faced during her 2-and-a-half years. “She hasn't been diagnosed with anything yet,” says Alanna. “All we know is that she has low muscle tone.”

Addison, showing off her pink and purple AFOs

DMO, SMOs and AFOs

With a weak core and lower body, Addison began physical therapy, when she was 1, didn’t begin walking until she was 18 months, and at age 2 was referred to Boston O&P of Stony Brook for bracing.

Orthotist Michelle Yakaboski , CPO fitted Addison for a dynamic movement orthotic (DMO) suit and supramalleolar orthotics (SMOs) — in Addison’s colors of choice, no less. The DMO suit is designed to align the shoulders, torso and hips, improving symmetry and maximizing stability, while the SMOs are designed to guide the feet into proper alignment.

For a toddler, it’s challenging to stay still during the measurement process, explains Alanna, “Michelle knows just what to do. She’s awesome. She's got all the tricks and toys, and lights and things to keep kids occupied. Addison loves going there.”

Since Addison’s first visit last July, the Mattimores have been back several times for adjustments and new bracing. With weakness in her hips, the SMOs were not providing the necessary support Addison needed.

“The SMOs were a great place to start, but when Addison needed a bit more support, we looked to Ankle Foot Orthotics (AFOs),” said Michelle. “The AFOs made a significant improvement in Addison's gait, increasing spunk and speed!”

Addison in her DMO suit

A tailored ‘suit’

In the meantime, Addison’s physician recommended an additional orthotic suit, typically used for children who are confined to a wheelchair or have less mobility than Addison does. However, unlike the DMO suit, which requires unzipping, the new suit had Velcro attachments — and Addison was able to pull it right off.

“Michelle ended up helping to combine the two together,” says Alanna. “We were able to incorporate some of the other suit pieces we needed along with the DMO and AFOs.”

The Mattimore family

For a parent, Alanna admits the idea of all these orthotics can be overwhelming, but with a master's in infant toddler/early childhood special education, she knew what was in store. Now, she works on setting up early intervention programs for other children.

Although there is an element of uncertainty as it relates to Addison’s long-term mobility, she has shown improvement, and Alanna is confident with clinicians like Michelle on Addison’s care team she has the support she needs — and a daughter who gives 100%.

“This kid is constantly working as hard as she can,” Alanna says. “She struggles and tires easily, but she'll find a way to do it and get it done. This kid just fights, there's no giving up for her.”

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