Joshua wears splints on both legs to support his foot position and to support him when he is walking, without the splints his legs tremble when he walks or stands. Joshua has large feet anyway and his left foot is a full size larger than his weaker right side, so we struggled to find him shoes to go over these splints. After searching for footwear unsuccessfully, 18 months ago he got some boots that were specially made for Joshua. It was a traumatic experience as he had several fittings and at each one, the trial boots did not fit, there was a problem with the measurements, but eventually we collected his big black boots!
They are not a fashion item! They look like the boots that a diver would wear to keep him on the seabed, although they are not as heavy as they look in fact. I was so delighted that he finally got some boots that fitted that I did not complain about their aesthetics or about the fact that he only had one pair to wear everyday. At his Annual Review this June, his epilepsy nurse saw his boots for the first time and expressed horror at him only having one pair and she vowed to chase orthotics for a spare pair. I wished her luck and everyone present agreed that if she was successful then he would be the only child in the county with more than one pair of boots.
I have had several battles since he received the boots as he is heavy on his footwear and so the soles wear out. On one occasiona, orthotics called me from school to say that they needed to take his boots away for repair as they were close to wearing the leather. I asked how long they would need them for as they were his only pair that went over the splints and she replied ‘a fortnight!’ I refused to hand them over for that long, explaining that he could not manage without them for that long but she was adamant:’ I need his boots, I nderstand you only have one pair but everyone else has the same problem and I need his boots’ but I was stubborn and simply refused and this telephone battle went on for several minutes, with us just repeating our points of view.
In the end I suggested an alterative and promised to take them to Timpsons, who re-sole them for £20-fee, while we wait. she was satisfied with that suggestion only adding ‘so long as you do do that before the shoes are wrecked!’ Why wouldn’t I? I of course did, and they have been re-soled in that way about ten times in their lifetime, always by Timpsons at our cost.
At our orthotics appointment back in September , at the start of term, it was agreed that Joshua would be measured for new splints and boots and we had our fitting appointment this Tuesday. Joshua now has smart new splints that fit well as his legs rather than his feet had grown. But the part-made boots had not arrived for their first fitting on Tuesday and I have now been given an appointment of 5 November for that fitting at school! Now I fear that his current boots will not last that long and then we will be stuck as this will just be a fitting and the shoes will not be completed at that stage , but based on last time’s experience, this will be an essential fitting as they were simply not accurate or reliable last time.
Once we get the new boots, I will gladly hand over his current boots for repair and then I will have a reserve pair ready for when idiotic requests are made to hand the essential boots over. My complaint about Joshua’s footwear is the same one about his nappies, if you/NHS are going to provide equipment for us then at least make it fit for purpose.