This is our friend Leo. Leo is 7 years old and was born with SCN8A epilepsy. When we first met Leo and his dad Alex at Trexo, Leo couldn’t walk and had difficulties with balance. Despite that, they both came with a positive attitude and enthusiasm to try walking with the Trexo!
At the time of meeting us, Leo was no stranger to locomotion therapy and has been walking on treadmills with the help of his physiotherapist. What they really wanted, Alex said, was a way to help Leo “train his brain by repeating the walking motion”.
Over the course of a month, we met Leo several times so that he could walk in our wearable robotic device which assists children with disabilities in walking, Trexo Plus. With a big smile on his face, we watched as Leo took step after step in the Trexo. He began walking with full foot-to-ground contact, taking big strides and shifting his weight in the process. He progressed very quickly, starting with just a few steps and working his way up to taking 300 steps in a single session!
After the first couple of sessions, amazing things started happening. Alex told us that Leo was sleeping better and being more energetic. We were beyond ecstatic!
We noticed interesting things too. During one of the sessions, we realized that Leo was putting in a lot of effort into each step. Each time he took a step and pushed himself forward, he engaged his leg muscles. His legs worked hard to keep himself moving forward.
As the sessions progressed, Leo’s parents and physiotherapist saw other changes. They started seeing increased hip flexion and better foot contact even when Leo wasn’t using the device. Alex proudly showed us Leo’s new stepping patterns as Leo quickly walked towards the door with his dad’s help.
Working with Leo throughout these sessions was so important. We watched carefully as Leo took each step and made notes to improve and make the device better. Leo in turn, participated actively and always in good spirits.
Although we saw these changes happen after just a few sessions, we’re looking forward to working with Leo more and hopefully seeing more progress. When asking Alex his thoughts about this work, he concluded with “ we are grateful for the team at Trexo for having a vision and building this incredible device. Leo and I are excited to be part of something really special and cool. My wife and I continue to think outside the box to provide Leo with the best possible treatment. So happy we found each other.”
We’re happy too! Thanks Leo 🙂
Photo Credit: Laura Pedersen
Also published on Medium.