Doesn't it seem like it's always moms who come up with these amazing, problem-solving inventions? Debby Elnatan was struggling to help her son, Rotem, who has cerebral palsy and can't walk on his own. She wanted him to experience walking and using his legs, but hunching over to hold him while they walked together is physically demanding. So Elnatan invented the Upsee, a harness that lifts a child and allows them to walk in tandem with a parent. It's an amazing invention -- you have to see how this works!
You'll be able to buy the Firefly Upsee for about $500 starting April 7. Already, demand is encouragingly high. Clearly this is something parents of kids with cerebral palsy feel could enhance their lives immensely.
My youngest sister has cerebral palsy. She's an adult now, so the Upsee wouldn't be helpful for her. But I asked my mom if this would have been helpful to them years ago, when my sister was younger.
"This is a fabulous idea. I love it!!!" she immediately responded. I'll take that as an enthusiastic yes. Here's what she liked about it.
So happy that it came from a mother (necessity is the mother of invention). Love the posture and form the kids take on. And of course the emotional benefits! Sounds like it may help the kids prepare for the next phase, perhaps a walker.
I had considered the physical benefits, but she's right, the emotional benefits would be huge. Walking this way, with your parent, would change your whole perspective and your outlook on the world and your place in it. And you're in close physical contact with your parent. Here's one suggestion my mom has:
I hope they study the physical therapeutic benefits and how to transition to the next level of mobility. Otherwise, it may be hard for these kids and families to deal with it when they outgrow the Upsee.
Since my sister is older, I was wondering about that, too. But I think the Upsee could be just the start of more smart inventions that give kids who can't walk on their own more options for mobility beyond the wheelchair.
Have you ever imagined what it's like to grow up in a wheelchair?
Image via Firefly/Facebook