Maybe you shed a tear of joy when your baby took his first steps. You probably documented it on your iPhone, emailed the video to Grandma and Grandpa and shared it on Facebook. Your friends all smiled, the family’s collective heart fluttered, and then you moved on to the next milestone
But if your baby’s first steps came at, say, age 7, instead of, say, 12 months, imagine how just a single tear of joy would turn into an all-out sob. For parents with developmentally delayed children, it’s an all-too real possibility that they don’t reach the same milestones as most kids at nearly the same time. Just taking a single step in their lifetime might be an impossible dream.
It pretty much was that for Debby Elnatan, whose son, Rotem, has cerebral palsy. The Israeli mom didn’t think she’d ever see her child walk, but “out of my pain and desperation,” she did something, and now he’s walking with the help of a support harness. According to The Huffington Post, Elnatan invented the Firefly Upsee, which harnesses the child and places them facing forward and on top of the shoes of someone bigger, who is wearing specially designed sandals. The child “walks” as the grown-up moves.
Not only does the Upsee help kids walk, but there’s another product, the Goto Seat, which can help them sit more upright in chairs, swings, and shopping carts — helping them breathe better and interact more fully with those around them.
First of all, the idea that there’s a seat that helps kids breathe better? It’s astounding. But that there’s a product coming that will further allow them to feel more included — something we, and most of our children, take for granted? It’s humbling, amazing, earth-shattering. Simply gorgeous, wonderful and other-worldly.
The first steps of most of our babies are a sight to behold. But the first steps of children who might not have previously had an inkling that walking would ever be in their future? Priceless, and seemingly well worth the nearly $500 that each Upsee will cost when it goes on sale April 7.
“Why has no one thought of this before?” asked one commenter on YouTube.
It’s a good question. But it’s better late than never. And leave it to a mom to be the one to figure it out.
Photo credit: Firefly
Video credit: Firefly/YouTube