According to Daleney Teske, the progress of her outpatient program lies on her feet. “See? Now, I get to wear fun shoes!” exclaims the 9-year-old, pointing to her new, size 12 shoes. Daleney was born with spastic quadriplegia, the most severe form of cerebral palsy, which affects her trunk and all four limbs.
For most of her young life, she wore cumbersome ankle foot orthotic (AFO) braces and battled “foot drop,” dragging her toes with each step. Shoe shopping was never high on Daleney’s list as the AFOs severely limited her choices. All that changed once Daleney shed the braces and began wearing the NESS L300™, a device manufactured by Bioness, that is correcting her foot drop through mild electronic impulses. The lightweight band fits just below the knee and stimulates the nerves in the leg that lift the toes to improve walking.
Daleney, a charismatic, quick-witted third-grader, was introduced to the NESS L300 when she competed in the 2008 “Little Miss You Can Do It” pageant in Illinois. The annual competition brings together young girls with special needs. Another contestant sporting the cutting-edge technology shared her amazing progress. Daleney’s parents, Dayna and Dave, consulted with their daughter’s physicians. They researched facilities in the Midwest that utilized the NESS L300, a path that led them to Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital.
Daleney has been making monthly treks from her home in Carroll, Iowa, since July 2009, to participate in Madonna’s outpatient pediatric rehabilitation program. According to Kilee Oetjen, physical therapist, Daleney is the youngest patient in the three-state region to be approved for use of the NESS L300. NOPS Orthotics, in Lincoln, adjusted the Velcro strap on the device to provide a custom-fit for Daleney’s thin legs.
Her mission was set from the beginning. “My goal is to walk, without my walker,” stated Daleney. Dayna never doubted her daughter would succeed. Daleney was a preemie, weighing only 1.5 pounds at birth, who came into the world fighting and hasn’t quit. “Her whole life has been one big journey,” said Dayna.
“I just want to walk like my brother and sister,” Daleney interjected.
The outpatient therapy team set up a usage plan for the NESS L300 and Daleney’s legs were gradually introduced to the technology. A 30-minute session was all the young woman could tolerate initially. But, Dayna was thrilled with the outcome. “We actually saw improvement within five minutes as both her legs responded,” she added.
Wearing the NESS L300 soon became second-nature to Daleney. She wore it at home and during the school day, only taking a short break from it at lunch.
All that determination has paid huge dividends to the young woman. Kilee noted that by December, Daleney’s reliance on her AFOs was a distant memory. She wears the NESS L300 for eight hours a day. She’s progressed from using a walker for all mobility last July to using bilateral forearm crutches for short distances. Daleney’s parents agreed her foot drop has improved dramatically, too. “She’s not dragging her toes with every step, and her motor control is so much better,” said Dayna.
Last month, Daleney sang one of her favorite Taylor Swift songs as she walked the halls of Madonna, her blonde ponytail swaying as she planted her feet, “Hair tied back and you should see her, she’s got her magic…dream big, aim small, man—you gotta love her.”
For more information on the Ness L300 visit www.bioness.com