Paige and Orthologix: Understanding the Difference

Nine-year-old Paige Szwech was just a few hours old when it was discovered she was different.  An especially observant NICU nurse identified that Paige, born at 36 weeks gestation, had something going on with her tiny, six-pound self. That something was VACTERAL Association, a rare disorder that affects multiple body systems, including the vertebrae, anus, trachea and esophagus, kidneys, and limbs. She eventually had surgery to attach her esophagus to her stomach and has had additional surgeries to treat other aspects of her diagnosis.

Now a Bensalem fourth grader, Paige’s differences have never been a big deal for her family, which includes mom, Christine, dad, Doug, and now 12-year-old brother, Adam.  Paige’s extended family includes the team at Orthologix, an orthotics and prosthetics practice that provides comprehensive, evidence-based care throughout the Delaware Valley.

Paige has been working with Mr. John (Izak, CPO), and Mr. Kevin (Loughry, CO), of the Orthologix team since she was 5.  The family was referred to Orthologix by her physical therapist after a series of misadventures with other orthotics firms.  They met for the first time when Mr. John came to one of Paige’s PT appointments and, according to Christine, this time the difference was with someone else!

“Since Paige was born, I can tell easily (when we meet someone new) what the experience will be like,” Christine said, “When we met John, I knew he was special!”

“He has a warm heart. I could tell he was very kind and gentle. He really cared about Paige right from the start,” she added.

Orthologix specializes in designing prosthetics and orthotics for complex and/or rare disorders and cares for children and adults at its Orthotic and Prosthetic Center of Excellence in Bucks County. Mr. John and Mr. Kevin see Paige a few times a year to fit her for a new brace for her right leg.  They often come to her home for her visits because it’s less stressful and more calming for Paige to be in her own environment.

Physically is about as far as Paige’s differences go.  She attends school with the help of an aide and succeeds in a mainstream fourth grade class. Paige is a Girl Scout, takes piano lessons, attends CCD, and plays with her friends at home and at their homes.  She loves to read, watches the Disney Channel and Nickelodeon, plays on the computer, and loves her pet hamster, Honey. Her family is determined that their children will succeed.

“We never want her to be afraid to try something,” Christine said. “She’s had roller skates, a scooter, plastic Barbie shoes! We try it all and let her decide what is right. She is definitely determined.”

Paige’s experience with Mr. John has accelerated her determination. According to Christine, Orthologix is unlike any other practice she’s experienced.  “When I have a question, they respond to me. They care what Paige and I think. They make her feel special and wonderful!”

She added, “We are grateful that someone cares for our child the way we do. It means a lot to us.”

In 2011, the Szwech’s self-published a book to help other children faced with physical disabilities like Paige.  Chairtastic Me, written by Christine and illustrated by Doug, offers uplifting reminders of all the things children in wheelchairs can do.  The family is also writing a book from a sibling’s point of view, which will be published in 2012. Both books are designed to remind children, whether faced with disabilities or able-bodied, that they are wonderful.


For more information on our orthotic or prosthetic services, contact us: ORTHOLOGIX® // 2655 Interplex Drive, Suite 101 // Trevose, PA 19053 // Phone: (800) 659-9755