Because brachial plexus injury or Erb’s Palsy is fairly uncommon and information on long term recovery is difficult to find I want to continue to publicly chronicle Nick’s journey.
Our 2 year old son, Nicholas, was injured at birth. His injury, brachial plexus palsy (BPI)or Erb’s palsy left his left arm paralyzed during the critical first months when infants develop the awareness and use of their arms.
Nick’s recovery has been amazing (“full recovery”) and I often forget that he was even injured and then something catches me by surprise and I realize that he still needs some extra help to continue to regain full use of his arm.
Pulling down their pants is a skill that our other children learned spontaneously, but not Nicholas. Nick is unable to move his injured arm behind his back and because of this was not able to learn to pull down his pants without help. To help him we simply show him what to do and remind him to use his left arm. We also reinstated regular stretching to help him gain more flexibility so that he will be able to get that arm farther behind his back.
Our older children help us, help him by encouraging him to do as much as possible for himself. His natural reaction to the difficulty is to come ask someone else to pull down his pants for him. Rather than doing it for him, we have successfully used verbal coaching to help him through the steps one by one. (Because he doesn’t have full range of motion, it takes a few steps for him to independently pull down his pants.)
So just a reminder to those of you who have Brachial Plexus Injured kids; pay attention. Even those who have a ‘full recovery’ might need extra help to learn simple skills as they grow and develop.
This post was written several months ago, Nicholas is now adept at pulling his pants down himself, his ability to move his arm behind his back has also improved. Our current focus is increasing the strength in his injured arm by encouraging him to use it more often.
More posts about our experience with brachial plexus injury or Erb’s Palsy.