Symbrachydactyly: Hopes for Wymondham girl with bionic arm

Calista Hutson

Having no working fingers on her left hand due to a rare birth defect, a girl just wants to compete fairly with her friends, according to her parents.

Six-year-old Caitlin Hutson from Norfolk has symbrachydactyly, which causes her to have five "fingers" without any bones. Her parents, Terry and Maria, refer to this condition as having a "little hand.".

Although she has gained a lot of skills, she still longs to emulate her friends.

For her "bionic" prosthetic arm, her parents are hoping to raise £13,000.

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

"Caitlin hasn't really known anything different because she was born that way; she just goes about her business. ".

Caitlin as a baby
Her dad said that instead of sucking her thumb, she preferred to put her entire "little hand" in her mouth, which would startle onlookers.

According to her mother, Caitlin was self-conscious about her limb difference when she first started school and would tuck her hand up her sleeve.

The good news is that she now has "a fantastic group of friends and a very supportive school.".

Caitlin's condition affects about one in every 32,000 newborns.

The family "doesn't view this as a disability," her father claimed.

We haven't discovered anything she is incapable of doing; it might take her a little longer, but she is capable of doing it, he said.

It would be much simpler and quicker for her if she had a bionic arm. and just puts her back on a more level playing field with others both now and in the future.".

Caitlin and her father
Caitlin has worn a number of prosthetics, but none of them, according to her mother, give her fine motor skills.

She has used NHS-provided prosthetics, including one that is attached to her bicycle and into which she can slip her arm. She also has one that makes both arms the same length so she can perform cartwheels because she enjoys acrobatics. However, other prosthetics have not proven to be "robust" enough to enable simple tasks like using cutlery. .

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

She simply finds a way to follow her peers' lead. ".

Smaller tasks, like putting on her coat or opening an ice cream, can be challenging, but mum said they try not to make too many adjustments.

She remarked, "I think a bionic arm will help immensely with her self-confidence as she grows.

"It breaks our hearts to see her struggle, and we try our best not to just jump in and help her out—which is so difficult sometimes—but we know it will only make her more frustrated.

"At the same time, we are incredibly proud of her tenacity in trying something over and over again. ".

Caitlin Hutson
Caitlin expressed her desire to have a bionic arm, which would enable her to brush and dry her hair simultaneously.

They have created a Go Fund Me page in the hopes of raising money for a "bionic" arm, known as a Hero Arm, produced by the Bristol-based Open Bionics Foundation.

By using sensors linked to their arm muscles, the user of the prosthetic limbs can control an electronic hand.

Caitlin has already visited the headquarters where her size and wrist flexibility made her a viable candidate.

By August, when appointments for potential fittings have been scheduled, her family, who are from Wymondham, hoped to raise the money.

And what is one of Caitlin's goals for using her bionic arm?

She remarked, "I'd like to brush and dry my hair simultaneously."

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