Yes, machine-assisted mobility training helps the youngest of the disabled learn to get around—but it also helps them think and communicate faster, and that means better emotional development. UD researchers are showing how.
(page 5 of 5)
Julianne Harp says Will has always demonstrated cognitive skills above age level, but his social interaction lagged. When Will acquired one of Galloway’s chairs at age three, his social skills began to improve. “He would always talk with the other children” Harp says, “but they would have to come to him and they would have to initiate the conversation.” After a year in the chair, Will started initiating conversations. That was clear when Will began chatting about “Toy Story 3” and the pirate ship his grandmother had given him for his fourth birthday.
“As a family the chair has allowed us to continue the activities we’ve always enjoyed,” Peffley says. “We no longer have to gear our lives around Andrew’s condition. He can have his Terrible Twos now. I’m not pushing or carrying him. I’m looking for him. I have to childproof the house.”
She says Andrew’s quintessential motion is his ability to run away from her. Galloway senses a hint of exhaustion behind that statement and smiles a Cheshire grin.
“It’s what I want to hear from parents of children with mobility issues. It’s my goal to have them experience what all the other parents are experiencing.”
Julianne Harp doesn’t mind that at all. “I can walk alongside Will now and hold his hand,” she says. “I couldn’t do that before.”