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Some Kids Wear Leg Braces or AFOs

July 28, 2019 2 min read

Disability Acceptance Books

Today’s picture book about disability acceptance is titled, Some Kids Wear Leg Braces, by Lola M. Schaefer. It gets right to the point about how mobility devices can support kids and help them move.

The photos in this read-aloud book include kids using both walkers and/or leg braces, also called AFOs. AFO stands for ankle-foot-orthosis. I usually teach the term “AFOs” since this term is used more than “leg braces” in the area where I teach. I also hear AFO more from parents, occupational therapists, and physical therapists.

A boy wearing AFOs (leg braces) dusts a table in the living room.

The book has real photos and simple text. It does a great job explaining why leg braces or AFOs help, and how kids use them in everyday life. It shows different kinds of braces and walkers that kids might need. I love that the photos include kids doing everyday things, such as walking, playing, doing chores, even feeding a horse!

Teaching Ideas

Whenever I read this book to a class of kindergarteners, I start off by asking some questions to get the class interested. I ask the kids if they know anyone who has had braces on their teeth before. At least a few always say older siblings. I say that braces help teeth to move and straighten out. Then I explain that this book is about another kind of brace, one that helps feet, ankles, and legs to get in the correct position and gives support to help kids move.

I try to stress that kids are all alike, even if some need help to stand, move or speak. If this classroom has a new friend entering their class with a walker or AFOs, I talk about how this student likes superheroes, drawing, or blocks just like others that age (always with parent permission). Kids are pretty accepting, especially when they have a bit of explanation.

Teachers consistently tell me that after a few days, there are no more questions about the walker or AFOs since the kids get to know the child and see his/her personality. Just remember to allow the student with mobility aids to be as independent as possible (since may young students will want to take care of them).

The book includes a glossary, index and other books/links to check out. The back cover of the books says the reading level is first grade, and that the interest level is PreK-2. There are other books in the series that deal with autism, deafness, blindness, and wheelchairs.

Back cover of the book "Some Kids Wear Leg Braces."

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