ISRAELI MOM’S INVENTION GETS CEREBRAL PALSY KIDS WALKING
Debby Elnatan’s Upsee, designed to help her own son walk tethered to an adult,could be the answer to many parents’ prayers for children with disabilities. Jerusalem child named Rotem was the inspiration for an invention that allows mobility-challenged little ones to experience walking, while tethered to an adult. Rotem’s mother, musician Debby Elnatan, traveled to Ireland ahead of the April 7 launch of her Upsee product under the new Firefly brand of Irish company Leckey, and has been featured on ABC News, The Daily Mail, International Business Times and other media.
On April 1, 2 and 3, therapists and parents from around the world are welcome to join a live-streamed discussion on the Firefly website on how to use this mobility innovation to help children with disabilities experience the benefits of walking. Elnatan tells Enduring World that she began working on the device when her son, who has cerebral palsy, was two years old. He is now 19. The motivation was the advice of physiotherapists not to let little Rotem’s legs remain useless, but to “walk” him regularly to strengthen them and increase his awareness of his limbs.
After trying several different approaches, she designed a harness that attaches to a belt worn by an adult. The system includes specially engineered sandals to hold the adult’s and child’s feet so that they step in synch. The child is fully supported yet both pairs of hands are free. Once she put a prototype together, she began taking Rotem out to walk. The first few times his legs collapsed under him, Elanatan tells Enduring World “Gradually he built up his strength, and by the end of a year he could go out for two hours with me. Before that, we could do only a few steps at a time.”