Video of independence We all want our children to grow up and be independent. As our children go from newborns through early development, we cherish the milestones they achieve. Whether it is learning to feed themselves, starting to talk, walk, mastering toileting, or dressing themselves, parents are excited when their children gain a new skill. Fast forward almost 9 years, and we are still waiting for some of those skills to be mastered. Although it is exciting when your child learns to ride their bike, masters crossing the monkey bars independently, and picks up skating or skiing quickly, it is also important to learn the basic skills of being independent: taking a bath, brushing teeth, toileting, and getting dressed.
This week I am proud to say we have mastered getting completely dressed independently. Kayla has been able to get her clothes on independently for the last two years. Granted her clothes do not entail buttons, snaps, or laces, and she might put her shirt on backwards, but she can dress herself. However, she always needs adult help getting her shoes on. When kids wear AFO braces on their feet it can be challenging to find shoes that fit. Then when you find a shoe that fits you need to jam their feet in the shoe. If you are lucky enough to purchase tie shoes, you then need to tie your kids’ shoes. There is a knack to getting shoes on over braces and it takes a lot of practice. I watched my friend attempt to put Kayla’s shoes on and she couldn’t figure out how to twist Kayla’s leg enough and angle the brace so her foot could slide in the shoe. She wondered how on earth I could do this every day. But for me, it is second nature at this point.
I am constantly researching shoes that would allow Kayla to put them on herself, and I finally found them! A few months ago, Nike came out with a shoe for individuals to use to make it easier to put on. They specifically designed a wide size for individuals who wore braces on their legs. Nike created this shoe because someone wrote to them and asked if they would design a shoe he could independently put on before he went to college. This young man has cerebral palsy and has never been able to put his shoes on. Nike responded and created the 3 FLYEASE shoe.
The 3 FLYEASE is incredible. It zips along the back, which opens the heal of the shoe and then has a velcro on top of the shoe. After getting Kayla’s braces on, she attempted to get the shoes on. She sat down to put her shoes on, and it was mission accomplished. She unzipped the shoes, slid her braces in, sat on the floor, zipped the shoes back up, and pulled the Velcro. She jumped off the floor and explained that “they are nice and snug.”
Finally! Thank you, Nike, for creating shoes for ALL athletes.