Debby Elnatan, the mother of a child with cerebral palsy, wanted to help her wheelchair-bound son walk. And walk he has. Her invention, called the “Upsee” is transforming the lives of disabled children everywhere since it was launched into the worldwide market. A music therapist, Elnatan made the product to help her son, Rotem. The harness allows a parent to harness a child to her legs and then take steps together.
Elnatan chose a Northern Ireland-based manufacturer Leckey, to make the device as a result of their long track record in making equipment for special needs kids. As Elnatan said,
“It is wonderful to see this product available to families across the world. 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.”
Since 2012, designers, engineers, textile experts and therapists have been working on the product from Leckey’s Firefly team. The device includes both a harness for the child and sandals that allow the parent and child to step simultaneously and leave their hands free for play and other tasks.
One of the first UK parents to use the product, Maura McCrystal, said, “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.”
“To see Jack playing like any other five-year-old boy made me very emotional. Jack and his brothers so enjoyed it.”