TLC’s Abby and Brittany from a Physical Therapy Perspective

TLC’s Abby and Brittany has been on for 2 weeks now, and I have loved every bit of each of the 4 episodes.  Before I talk about the PT side of the show, here are some reasons why I’m loving this show.

–I love that “never give up” and “whatever happens, happens” mentality, and those girls display that throughout their show.  Though they aren’t totally laid back or anything, they definitely show that they try not to let anything get in the way of enjoying their lives to the fullest.

–They are funny!  I like that they’re so happy and giggly despite having another person up in their face at all times ha.  I’m sure the show will have some moments when they’re annoyed with each other, so I’m looking forward to that.

–I love their friends, they have the nicest and most supportive friends that I’ve seen, and it’s great they have such a good support system around them.

 

Here are some occupational therapy features I’ve noticed in these first 4 episodes:

–Their fine motor skills are amazing!  From putting earrings on, to painting their nails, to brushing their hair, and doing make-up, I was amazed at how precise they were with all those fine movements!

–Brittany prefers loud busy places while Abby prefers more quieter environments.   It’s been interesting watching the 2 of them adapt to different environments since compromise is a must in their situation.

Now onto some of the physical therapy features I’ve noticed!

Right from the start of graduate school in physical therapy, we are repeatedly told that we are movement specialists and we are specifically trained to watch how people move, ask some questions, and then determine what could be the cause of their movement disfunction.  As a result, I am constantly staring at people and watching how they move, and have to stop myself from commenting at times haha.  But anyway, I watch this show for the content because the girls seem like great people, but I also watch because I am fascinated by how well Abby and Brittany do everything they do, so here are some PT observations I’ve made so far.

The girls are 2 different heights!  Abby (on the right (our left)) is taller than Brittany.  Abby had back surgery when they were younger to stop her spine from growing, or else there would have been a more significant height difference.  As a result, Brittany has to walk on her toes more than Abby, and per her friends, Brittany has a very strong calf as a result.   I was amazed how the girls manage to keep their balance since they are tilted most of the time.  In PT we see a number of patients who have hip, pelvis, or low back pain, which is sometimes a result of their hip/pelvis being out of alignment because of certain movements.  So I’m also impressed that they don’t have any hip, pelvic, or back pain after years of walking with 1 leg shorter than the other.

The girls feel and control their respective side of their body.  I knew that Abby controlled the Right side and Brittany controlled the left, but I never thought about which side they actually had sensation on.   In the 4th episode, Abby discusses how she has a harder time controlling her body temperature and feels much hotter than Brittany at times, and that you can see a red line going down the middle of their body where her sensation stops.  You may ask, well why does sensation matter?  Just imagine if your arm fell asleep and you couldn’t feel it, how could you control and coordinate something you couldn’t feel or even know was there.  Though their spinal cords/brains are obviously separated, it’s amazing to think about the pathways that developed to help them move the way they are moving today.

 

The girls’ coordination is one of the most amazing aspects about them in regards to physical attributes.  Everything they do is incredibly coordinated, so much so, that I feel like I really need to work on not being so clumsy!  Watching them drive a car and turn the wheel while looking around and talking to their friends was amazing.   Watching them work on their balance while trying to ride a segway demonstrated a little bit on how they have to coordinate their bodies to have good standing balance.  The great thing about working in pediatric physical therapy is that you get to see these neural pathways being created as babies and infants learn to control their bodies and balance themselves well enough to eventually walk independently.  I wonder if these girls ever received PT, or if they were ever developmentally delayed.

-The following video shows a little about the girls when they were younger, and their dad discusses how quickly they learned to ride a bike.   The girls even do a quick Q&A answering FAQ and say themselves that they don’t know how they came to be so well-coordinated.  If the video doesn’t work, just click this link.

-The following video is a video when they were 16.  This video again shows their amazing coordination.  click this link if video below doesn’t work.

 

A link to their wikipedia which has some more info about the girls.

And finally, a link to their TV show website on TLC.

 

There are so many things that I found amazing throughout these 4 episodes, that I had to stop myself from saying “that’s amazing!” so many times haha.  I’m looking forward to seeing them drive a Vespa in their next episode while they travel through Europe!

 

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Categories: PT and TV

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