"So You Want to Begin a Myoelectric Program?"

PAMELA NEKOLNY, MS, OTR*Wilmington, Delaware

Often occupational therapists are presented with the task of creating a program for training children in the use of myoelectric prostheses. The physician, parents and administrators locate funds, the prosthetist learns to fabricate the device, but the therapist or social worker is left with the task of designing a successful program which will demonstrate that the gains are worth the expenses. Workshops in pediatric myoelectrics teach the therapist how the device functions and present training guidelines, but do little to prepare the therapist or social worker for the stress involved in the new venture. Unexpected problems which therapists may encounter in attempting to create a program include: (1) parental ideas which may be contrary to the child's, (2) various mechanical failures, (3) differentiating mechanical failures from a child's difficulty with learning to use the device and (4) time delays for needed repair which interfere with the child's psychosocial adjustment to the myoelectric prosthesis. Criteria for selecting candidates and procedures used in training a child with a below-elbow amputation to use a three-state control system were presented.

*Alfred 1. DuPont Institute, Box 269, Wilmington, DE 19899