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Bringing a Smile to a Child's Face:  A Grandmother's Story


Why did I start armbraces.com?
Like other grandparents and parents of special needs children, we didn't request to go down the road of special equipment, special
education, special doctors, and special circumstances. But apparently we were chosen.

Our beautiful granddaughter was born with
Rett Syndrome.  We spent the first few years trying to master a new vocabulary -all these
“unique” words, most of which we had never heard before: hand mouthing, hand wringing, scoliosis, AFO's (ankle-foot orthotics),
bruxim, apnea, apraxia, and gait.

One issue that perplexed us was the need for an arm brace to prevent our granddaughter from mouthing her hand.

Early on, we had success with the wrist guards skaters use to protect their wrists while rollerblading. These braces were soon
outgrown, however, and we found ourselves searching for a solution-something that didn't look so "medical."

Finally, with my mom's help, we devised an arm brace utilizing the plastic stays that were inside the wrist guards. Because the brace
wasn't washable, we had to make them often. As my granddaughter grew, so did the strength in her arm, and soon one plastic stay
was no longer sufficient to keep her from hand-mouthing.

A friend of mine (the mother of a daughter with Rett) was describing an arm brace she had seen, and she asked me if I could sew. I
told her I was "allergic" to sewing machines-even though my mom and my two sisters all are excellent seamstresses, I never really
enjoyed sewing. After this friend made an arm brace for my granddaughter, I decided to embrace sewing-and to take it a step
further.  I made arm braces for my granddaughter in solid colors to match her wardrobe and in fun bright prints. Then, I decided to
make them in holiday-themed prints.

When I took my granddaughter to school I noticed that all the other kids started hanging around, admiring her arm brace.  My
granddaughter was smiling and really enjoying the attention. As the holidays came and went, the kids were waiting and watching to
see which arm brace she would be wearing. It made my heart feel good to see that she was getting pleasure from her arm
brace-something that most of us wouldn't even want to wear.  Arm restraints are necessary for some children, and sometimes they
cause attention of a negative kind. I realized that the bright, colorful arm braces I created could be the source of positive attention
instead-so I founded armbraces.com. My desire is to provide a good product, one that will bring a smile to the face of a special child.
Jan Erickson