National Edition

Mom's invention helps physically disabled children walk tall

Compiled by Nathan Sorensen

For the Deseret News

Published: Friday, March 28 2014 12:10 p.m. MDT

Debbie Elnatan, inventor of the Upsee, talks with a young disabled girl who is strapped into the Upsee. Thanks to Elnatan's invention, many children who have never known what it feels like to walk may finally get that chance.

Firefly via Facebook

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Debby Elnatan said hearing that her son had cerebral palsy was life changing for her.

"That was an incredibly difficult thing for a mother to hear, the Israeli music therapist recalled to the the Daily Mail. "I started to walk him day after day, which was a very strenuous task for both of us."

Now she hopes her struggles with her son Rotem will change the lives of other parents with children who can't walk.

Elnatan partnered with a Northern Irish manufacturer called Firefly to design the Upsee. The harness holds a disabled child upright against an adult's legs and feet, enabling both parent and child to walk without hindering the parent's or child's hands. (Video of families using the Upsee can be found at fireflyfriends.com).

ABC News recently interviewed a mom who has been putting the device to the test. Stacy Warden and her son Noah have been walking around together using the Upsee.

“He laughs and giggles, something he doesn’t do with other walking devices, which he sees as work,” Warden told ABC News. “I am amazed at what this has done for both of us.”

The Upsee is one of several mobility options parents have.

"There are many different types of walking aids available ... rang(ing) from simple walking sticks and crutches through to minimally supportive walking frames and walking frames .... Finding the right one can be tricky. ... Your physiotherapist will be able help you decide by arranging trials of different walking aides," according to celebralpalsy.org.

The Upsee harness goes on sale worldwide on April 7.

Email: nsorensen@deseretnews.com

Twitter: sorensenate

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