Friday, March 28, 2014

Upsee Harness Helps Children with Disabilities Walk

Do you remember standing on your parents' feet as a child and dancing across the floor with them, following their movements as they pushed your legs with their own? Debby Elnatan, mother of formerly wheelchair-bound son, has invented a special walking harness based on the same principle of simultaneous movement that will soon be available to the public to help special needs children get around.

The idea for the Firefly Upsee Harness came out of Elnatan's “pain and desperation” upon hearing that her son, Rotem, who has cerebral palsy, was completely unconscious of his legs. With the harness, Rotem was able to stand upright for the first time.

The top of the harness cinches around the parent's waist, and specially designed sandals are worn by both parent and child. Since the sandals keep the child's feet aligned with the parent's, both can move together simultaneously while keeping everyone's hands free. Stacy Warden, a Colorado woman who had the opportunity to try out the harness with her son, Noah, hopes that using this device will eventually help her son walk on his own.

The five-year-old Noah has spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy, but with the Upsee, he is able to do many movements he previously could not. Better yet, he has fun with it and doesn't look at walking as work. Not only can he now bear weight on his legs and mimic natural walking motions, Noah was also able to hug his younger brother for the first time. With Noah in a wheelchair, three-year-old Luke could not hug his brother. The Upsee made possible this long overdue physical connection. Pretty spectacular, right?

The Firefly Upsee goes on sale worldwide on April 7, 2014. It fits children from three to wight years old and will cost about $540 plus shipping. Already overwhelmed by interest in the Upsee, the company will hold a webinar and online demonstrations April 1 – April 3.  

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