New Invention Enables Children With Disabilities to Walk
At first glance, the Upsee looks like a cross between a Baby Bjorn infant carrier and a car seat. No industrial looking metal, no utilitarian design, and no boring colours. Instead, this revolutionary device is lightweight, and the combination of neon and black colours make it look sporty. Plus, kids love it.
The brainchild of mom Debby Elnatan, Upsee was borne from the frustration and strain of walking her son Rotem, who has cerebral palsy. Elnatan is quoted in the Upsee press release as saying this about her idea:
“It is wonderful to see this product available to families across the world. When my son was 2 years old, I was told by medical professionals that ‘he didn’t know what his legs are and has no consciousness of them.’ That was an incredibly difficult thing for a mother to hear. I started to walk him day after day, which was a very strenuous task for both of us. Out of my pain and desperation came the idea for the Upsee and I’m delighted to see it come to fruition.”
Functions of the Upsee
• The Upsee assists in motor mapping. Children like Rotem are not borne with the ability to coordinate or bear weight on their lower limbs.
• The invention gives a different and empowered perspective on the world. A child no longer sees the world from a seated or laying position.
• It gives children experiences that they would not otherwise have (e.g. kicking a ball, seeing eye-to-eye with their peers).
• Upsee increases body-to-body contact time with a caregiver.
The product garnered international notice before hitting the market on April 7, 2014. A series of webinars given by the company serve to educate the public and gain feedback on the device. The price point, about $500 Canadian, is quite affordable for such an improved quality of life.
The Upsee has gone through rigorous clinical testing through their production company, Firefly. As well, over the past three months the Upsee has been field-tested by more than 20 families around the world. Stacy Warden and her son Noah are one pair of lucky field testers. Noah, 5, has spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy, a condition that has left him unable to crawl, sit, stand, walk or feed himself. Warden told ABC News that, “using the Upsee has been a life-changing experience.” For his part, Noah has a great time in the Upsee – something that was lacking when he used other assistive devices.
The Firefly Upsee can be purchased directly from www.fireflyfriends.com. Upsee goes is on sale now worldwide and will cost around $540 plus shipping. It is designed to fit kids 3 to 8 years old.