Adaptive Equipment: AFOs and Standers

AFOs from Maine Orthotics

Will has dystonia affecting his extremities. Because of his strong, involuntary tone, he needs ankle-foot orthotics (AFOs) to hold his feet in a flat position (dorsiflexion), so he can bear weight on flat feet. When standing, or held upright, he points his toes downward (plantar flexion) and cannot stand. Will’s condition will prevent him from walking and standing on his own, so we need to adapt to his limitations and support him into those positions.

In order for Will to stand in his ‘stander,’ he needs to wear his AFOs. Will needs to stand at least twice a day for 20 or more minutes each time (our current goal), so his bones and muscles develop normally. Check out these cute shoes from Old Navy! I love a good deal, and these were only $7.99! Winning!

After Will has his AFOs on, he is able to use a stander. There are prone standers and supine standers. We are trialing these standers so we can assess which type of stander will be best for Will. To obtain durable medical equipment (DME) you need a letter written by a therapist demonstrating the medical need for the piece of equipment you are requesting. A physician has to sign the letter written by the therapist, then it is sent to the insurance company for review.  If the insurance company approves our request, the medical supply company will order the piece of equipment from their vendor. Once ordered, the equipment is delivered to the medical supply company (this takes a few weeks) and they use the patient’s measurements to set up the equipment. It can take 3-6 months to go through this process.

Prone Stander
Supine Stander


5 Replies to “Adaptive Equipment: AFOs and Standers”

  1. Great post Melissa! I learned a lot from reading this, thank you for sharing your story. Will is such an angel and is a lucky boy to have a great Mom like you! ❤️

  2. Great blog!! Informative and you used basic language — very understandable. I had my husband read it and he said it was very clear and he understood it. This would be great for others needing this equipment.

  3. It appears as if he is already doing better than the earlier videos I saw. With your help and the adaptive equipment , may he continue to improve. God bless you all and the wonderful work you are doing with this precious boy.

    1. Thank you so much! I quickly learned that he isn’t able to advocate or fight for himself so it is up to us to be his strength. We are equipped to be his muscle and it’s the hardest race I have ever run.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *