A gait trainer is a wheeled device that provides assistance to a person with physical disabilities to walk or stand. The devices available today have various means to provide support of the person’s weight as well as help with positioning of arms and legs and posture. This allows persons who have little balance strength or control to be supported in a safe manner and enables them to stand or take some steps. A gait trainer provides much more support and assistance than a simple “walker” you might see an elderly person using to get around. Upright activities such as standing and walking are extremely important to all of our health and even more so with the CP population.
Does my child need a gait trainer?
There are a number of medical conditions that make it difficult or impossible for children to walk on their own. Usually this results from some loss of control or coordination of the muscles known as neuromuscular deficit. Many of these conditions are identified in childhood such as Cerebral palsy, or other developmental complications. It can also be caused by injury or illness that results in lack of oxygen to the brain or brain trauma. Any of these conditions can leave a person without the strength or coordination to walk independently or safely. If your child has any of the challenges described above, he or she could benefit from the support and body positioning these devices provide. There are significant benefits both physical and emotional to using a gait trainer. It is most certainly in your child’s best interest to investigate which system best fits his or her needs.