Welcome to Trexo’s interview series where we join in conversation with Trexo families to learn more about the changes they have seen since starting to use the Trexo Home.
This interview is with Lauren, mother of 5-year old Alex. One of Lauren’s daily priorities is to prevent hip dislocation by helping Alex experience walking regularly. The following interview shares her experience and insights of the Trexo.
This story shares Alex’s experience only. The following is not reflective of results as investigated by a formal research study and reflects the experience of one family.
Meet Alex & his mom Lauren
Meet our friend Alex, a motivated, social and smart kiddo. Alex lives with spastic quadriplegia. Day to day, you can find Alex working out with his physical therapist, occupational therapist or riding horses at hippotherapy. Alex is also actively working on communication, using an iPad and eye gaze device.
Alex’s mom, Lauren, first reached out to Trexo in 2018, with an interest to learn more about this technology. At that time, Alex was 4 years old and was working on sitting up independently, walking with his Rifton mini-pacer and improving his communication skills.
Lauren was excited to discover the Trexo because walking for Alex has been challenging. She knew that the physiological benefits of walking were huge. In her mind, Lauren imagined that Trexo could help get Alex on his feet and hopefully prevent hip dislocation.
Alex’s workout schedule
Like many kids with CP, Alex had a rigorous schedule filled with therapy to help maintain his health and help him reach major milestones. In addition to the PT, OT, and hippotherapy, Alex was also using a stander daily and taking advantage of intensive therapy at the NAPA center.
Although they were using the Rifton mini-pacer at home to practice daily walking, someone always had to be hands-on to help him with stepping. Alex has difficulty initiating on his own and overcoming his tone. They had also tried treadmill for walking, but found it challenging.
Alex received his Trexo in October of 2019. They started with the Trexo, 3 times/week with 20 minutes at a time. They decided to kick it up after some time and started to run longer sessions. The main focus was on getting as many Trexo days into a week as their schedules could permit.
The purpose of the Trexo from Lauren’s perspective is to provide Alex with a way to feel the repeated motion of walking and correct patterning. It would also help with regular weight bearing necessary to prevent hip dislocation. So they started working up to 30 minute sessions and experimenting with speed to get him to a higher number of repetitions.
They noticed that increasing the speed has helped decrease his resistance during the sessions. Sometimes, at slower speeds, Alex’s spasticity would kick in and as a result he would have toe drag. Now he’s comfortably walking at 25 steps/minute.
Having fun with the Trexo
A very important aspect of any physical activity is to make sure your kiddo is having fun! Lauren and Alex took note of this and set-up toy tunnels. On some days, Alex will walk over to their dog Tully’s crate in his Trexo and feed her snacks.
Incorporating a fun component has helped them keep the Trexo exciting. “He will want to do it 85% of time” Lauren says. Of course some days Alex is just too tired to get his workout. “When that happens, we have to motivate him with a TV show and once he’s moving he’s ok” Lauren says laughing.
Managing hip dislocation
Every 6 months, Alex gets his hips checked with an X-Ray. Alex has been at risk of hip dislocation for a while now, so they monitor the hips diligently.
According to Lauren, the general consensus has been that it is highly unlikely that Alex’s hips will go back in. As a result, they have been using the stander and trying to get Alex on his feet as much as possible. These are the common tactics to prevent hip dislocation and hopefully surgery.
Alex’s last X-Ray before the Trexo was in March of 2019. Lauren recalled, his hips were roughly 23% and 30% subluxed. Because Alex has more spasticity on his right, the right hip was more difficult to manage.
To their surprise, at the December 2019 check-in, they discovered that Alex’s left hip has gone down to 0% migration and the right hip to 18%! Immediately, the orthopedist asked if Alex has had botox or any medication for spasticity management. He had not.
“To have that much of a drastic improvement is incredible! Honestly, I can only think that it was at least partially due to Trexo, if not more” says Lauren.
“I’m so grateful for it, check everybody’s hips! Every child who’s not ambulatory should be given a chance to be in a Trexo and walk around!”Alex’s mother, Lauren
Alex has shown other changes as well. For example, when he takes steps outside of the Trexo, he now does the heel toe movement that he didn’t do before. They noticed he bends him knees to take a step, which is a new quality to his gait outside the Trexo.
Recently, he has graduated from a bottle and now is drinking from a straw cup. Alex’s parents attribute this new skill to an increase in his core strength that allows him to sit up better.
Being able to drink from a straw cup is a game changer because it has given Alex independence. Before, Lauren shared that the bottle was heavy to lift and he needed help to be able to use it. With the straw cup, he can hold it and drink all on his own!
Lauren doesn’t know if all the changes they have seen are related to the Trexo. However, she can’t help but think that when you strengthen the core, everything else will follow.
“Honestly its been a great 6 months!”Alex’s mother, Lauren
At the time of writing this – Alex has done 172 sessions and over 57,000 steps. He started using the Trexo Home in October 2019.
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