SCRANTON, Pa. — Therapists at Allied Services use a device called a gait trainer. It is a typical piece of equipment you'd see a child with impaired walking use during a physical therapy session. The gait trainer provides support, but the children must move their legs on their own.
"What we're currently doing is assisting a child from the side or the back to move their legs forward. The Trexo mounts inside and provides leg movement and opportunity for the child to have assistance moving their legs while still having trunk support," said physical therapist Jean Fredmund.
The Trexo is a new piece of technology. Video provided by Trexo shows what the machine looks like.
The 72 runners on this year's Team Allied Services and You are racing in the New York City Marathon this weekend while raising money so Allied can purchase one of these machines.
The Trexo will be able to better help kids with cerebral palsy, traumatic brain or spinal cord injuries, and other conditions that impair children's ability to walk.
"They're limited by my ability to advance their legs, my strength, and I can't be as consistent as the robotic computer system. So I'm not as efficient at helping the child place their steps," Fredmund said.
The robotic system will mount inside the gait trainer, so the child will have assistance moving their legs while still having trunk support. The $70,000 cost of the Trexo is out of the reach of most families to buy and use at home, which is why therapists at Allied Services want this piece of equipment to use in their physical therapy sessions.
"The robotics system will give the children the opportunity to walk longer distances, at a more sustained, consistent pattern, which is how our brains learn and develop. So, the more consistent and repetitive steps the child takes, the closer we get to them taking more independent steps on their own."
The Trexo will be able to support kids from the ages of about 3 to 14. The system was released in 2018, and prior to that, there was no robotic walking system available for kids this young. Therapists at Allied call the Trexo a game-changer.
"Confidence, and independence, and self-awareness — getting a child to feel less dependent on others is such an important emotional goal for them as well as a physical goal," Fredmund added.
That can be made possible by buying one of these Trexo devices, which can only happen through fundraising efforts. The New York City Marathon is this Sunday, and the runners on Team Allied Services and You are ready.