In the News- Harness of hope: Invention from mother of wheelchair-bound son helps him and other physically impaired children walk for the first time

Here is a great new product that will be made available worldwide soon.  I always feel like parents come up with the best ideas since they are the ones that are with their 24-7 and know exactly what their needs are and have to deal with addressing those needs every day.

(click logo to go directly to product’s site)


Highlights from the article:

A mother’s invention that gave her wheelchair-bound son the chance to walk has been launched onto the worldwide market.

A Northern Ireland company has turned Debby Elnatan’s idea for a walking harness into a product that could transform the lives of countless disabled children.

Mrs Elnatan, a music therapist, came up with the concept to help her young son Rotem, who has cerebral palsy.

‘When my son was two 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.’

The Upsee allows infants and small children to stand and achieve repetitive walking training with the support of an adult.

It includes a harness for the child, which attaches to a belt worn by an adult, and specially-engineered sandals that allow the parent and child to step simultaneously, leaving their hands free for play and other tasks.

Designers, engineers, textile experts and therapists from Leckey’s Firefly team have been working on the project since 2012.

‘Short-term, the Upsee improves special needs family participation and quality of life, while research suggests it has the potential to help with physical and emotional development in the longer term,’ she said.

I think the best thing about this product is what they high light at the end, that it improves a child’s participation in their family and overall quality of life.  Most of my patients’ parents really just want to see their children standing/walking so they can interact with other kids, and this gives them that opportunity.  I’m sure there are other modifications that are needed for kids with severe spasticity or really weak head control or low muscle tone, but I think it’s a good start.

They are also having a free webinar for therapists or parents or anyone who wants to learn about the product. Go their site here:


Here are some videos:





Categories: News Articles, Technology

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4 replies

  1. Brilliant idea i have a disabled son my self and came across this i want to get one the look great


  2. What a great resource! Thank you for researching and posting!

    As a special needs educator, I’m following your blog for more resources and I wanted to share that I’ve nominated you for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award. Check out more details here: I’m following your blog and I wanted to share that I’ve nominated you for The Very Inspiring Blogger Award. Here are more details:

    Many thanks,
    Christine Terry


  3. Wish they could come up with something similar for people who’ve had strokes or amputations so that they could relearn to walk through repetition like this!


    • You probably may know this already but figured i’d add it for anyone looking at other options to facilitate walking. One method they use for people with strokes and amputations is body weight supported treadmill training, since these patients are usually bigger than our pediatric patients so the harness in body weight supported treadmill training is a little easier. You can also adjust how much weight the patient is putting on the treadmill as the therapist facilitates walking, it’s also helpful with pediatric patients. Only problem is it’s in an artificial environment so can’t try to play a soccer game with your peers like with the firefly harness.


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