Upsee harness: Mother's invention to give disabled son chance to walk will help countless other families following worldwide launch
Debby Elnatan's idea could change lives of thousands of wheelchair-using children around the world
A revolutionary new harness designed by a mother to give her wheelchair-bound son a chance to walk has been launched on a worldwide market.
Debby Elnatan, a music therapist whose son Rotem has cerebral palsy, said the idea for a support harness came from her own “pain and desperation”, but will go on to make lives easier for countless families across the world struggling with disability.
It was designed to enable Rotem to stand upright and, by attaching it to herself, Ms Elnatan and her son could take steps together.
Now, a company in Northern Ireland has taken Ms Elnatan’s invention and prepared it for an international launch.
The manufacturer, Leckey, has a track record of producing equipment for children with special needs, and after successful trials in the UK and North America the Firefly Upsee has been rolled out worldwide.
“It is wonderful to see this product available to families across the world,” said Ms Elnatan, who was at the official unveiling at the Leckey factory in Lisburn.
“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'.
Charlotte Taylor, three, using a Firefly Upsee, a new standing and walking harness for children with motor impairment (PA) “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.
Maura McCrystal, mother of five-year-old Jack from Draperstown in Northern Ireland, has been one of the first UK parents to use the product.
(Left - right) Claire and Daniel Smyth, Louise and Bethany Watson and Cameron and Charlotte Taylor using a Firefly Upsee (PA) “Last Sunday was a significant one for us as a family as it was the first time our son Jack was able to play football in the back garden with his dad, his brothers and our little dog Milly,” she said.
“To see Jack playing like any other five-year-old boy made me very emotional. Jack and his brothers so enjoyed it.”
Firefly's clinical research manager and occupational therapist, Clare Canale, said the product could help families across the world.
“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.
“It has been humbling to see the progress and happiness the Upsee is creating; watching children to do simple things for the first time such as kicking a ball or playing with a sibling is wonderful for everyone involved, but especially the families.”
For more information, visit the Firefly website.
- 1 President of Argentina adopts Jewish godson to 'stop him turning into a werewolf'
- 2 The 'Black Museum': After 150 years, public set to see exhibits from police’s grisly crime museum
- 4 Sir Winston Churchill’s family begged him not to convert to Islam, letter reveals
- 5 UK weather: 'Coldest night of the year' tonight as freezing temperatures plummet to -10C
President of Argentina adopts Jewish godson to 'stop him turning into a werewolf'
Exclusive: Abusers using spyware apps to monitor partners reaches 'epidemic proportions'
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations
Sir Winston Churchill’s family begged him not to convert to Islam, letter reveals
AirAsia flight QZ8501 missing: Search for plane carrying 162 passengers from Indonesia to Singapore suspended overnight
Millions of Britons struggling to feed themselves and facing malnourishment
British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
Ukip member gets into Christmas spirit with Union Flag plea to Santa 'for our country back'
Germany anti-Islam protests: 17,000 march on Dresden against 'Islamification of the West'
Nigel Farage: Ukip leader named 'Briton of the year' by The Times
Immigrants make UK racist, says Ukip councillor Trevor Shonk
£32000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Business Manager is required ...
£45000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Panel Wireman required for small electro...
£25000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An SME based in East Cheshire, ...