Symbrachydactyly: Wymondham girl hopes for bionic arm

Catherine Hutson

The girl's parents said she just wants to be "on a level playing field" with her friends. She was born with a rare condition that leaves her left hand without any functional fingers.

Caitlin Hutson, age 6, of Norfolk, has symbrachydactyly, which causes her to have five "fingers" without any bones. Her parents, Terry and Maria, refer to it as her "little hand.".

She has acquired many skills, but she still longs to emulate her friends.

In order to purchase her a "bionic" prosthetic arm, her parents need to raise £13,000.

Her mother Maria said, "She surprised us by being born a month early, and then she surprised us again with her little hand. They call her fingers "nubbins.".

Caitlin was born that way; she just gets on with things and hasn't really known any other way. ".

Caitlin as a baby
Instead of sucking her thumb, the girl preferred to put her entire "little hand" in her mouth, which would startle onlookers, according to her father.

Caitlin's mother claimed that when she first started school, she was self-conscious about her limb difference and would tuck her hand up her sleeve.

She does, however, now have "a fantastic group of friends and a very supportive school.".

Similar to Caitlin, one in 32,000 infants are born with this condition.

The family "doesn't see this as a disability," according to her father.

Nothing that she can't do has been discovered, he continued. "She can do it; it might take her a little longer.".

She would "achieve much more quickly and easily" with a bionic arm. and merely places her back on a level playing field with other people both now and in the future.".

Caitlin and her father
Caitlin has used several prosthetics, but none have helped her with fine motor skills, according to her mother.

She has used prosthetics provided by the NHS, including one that she can slip her arm into and one that makes both arms the same length so she can perform cartwheels (she loves acrobatics). However, other prosthetics have not proven to be "robust" enough to allow her to perform simple tasks like using cutlery. .

Mrs. Hutson remarked, "She can do everything in her own way.

She manages to do everything her peers do. ".

However, simple tasks like putting on her coat or opening an ice cream can be challenging. "But we try not to make too many adaptations," mum said.

As she gets older, I think a bionic arm will do wonders for her self-confidence, she said.

"It breaks our hearts to see her struggle, and we try our best not to just jump in and help her out, even though we know that will only make her more frustrated. But it's so hard sometimes.

"At the same time, we are incredibly proud of her tenacity in never giving up on a task. ".

Caitlin Hutson
Caitlin remarked that she would adore having a bionic arm so she could brush and dry her hair simultaneously.

They have created a Go Fund Me page in an effort to raise money for a Hero Arm, a "bionic" arm made by the Bristol-based Open Bionics Foundation.

The user of the prosthetic limbs can operate an electronic hand using sensors linked to their arm muscles.

Caitlin has already visited the headquarters where her large arm and flexible wrist made her an ideal candidate.

By August, when appointments for potential fittings have been scheduled, her Wymondham-based family hoped to have raised the necessary funds.

When Caitlin receives her bionic arm, what is one of the things she wants to do?

She said, "I'd like to brush and dry my hair at the same time."

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