Restoring the ability to walk is a key step toward independence
Restoring the ability to walk is a key step toward independence

Caregiver Greta Freund

My daughter, Faiga Lea, just turned 14 years old and has a disability which affects her ability to walk, and also to see, called ML Type 4. In 2004 she was part of a study in Bethesda, Maryland. The research group in Maryland recommended that Faiga Lea try the Up n’ Go because traditional walkers would not work for a legally blind person (they need their hands free), and because the other gait trainers on the market were too bulky for her use. I ordered the Up n’ Go in February of 2004, and after completing the paperwork and getting the approval from the Department of Education, received the device in May of 2004, fully paid for by the Department of Education. With this work, I’ve paved the way for anyone in New York City Schools to get the device for their child. It is now approved by the Department of Education.

With the Up n’ Go, Faiga Lea is much steadier on her feet, more comfortable walking, and the size of her steps has been reduced. She just upgraded from the pediatric model to the junior model. She uses the device at school twice a week for about 45 minutes in therapy, but also uses it to walk during school. In the summer, she goes to a camp for disabled children and takes the Up n’ Go with her. During camp she gets one-on-one supervision, and is able to use the Up n’ Go 45 minutes to an hour and a half each day with a camp counselor behind her.

I see a dramatic improvement with the Up n’ Go. First of all, Faiga Lea’s eyes light up when she sees the Up n’ Go. When she first got the device, she crawled over to it, pushed herself up, and her eyes gleamed with excitement because she knew she was going to walk. She is proud of her walking, loves to be around other people, and can take it all the way around a New York City block, stopping to visit with people on the way, without getting tired. In addition, she needs fewer Botox treatments for her gait therapy. She gets Botox injections in her hamstrings to paralyze the muscles so they can be re-taught how to walk. Since Botox leaves the body after 3 months, usually we need to re-inject it often, but now that Faiga Lea exercises with the Up n’ Go, we have been able to go 18 months between injections.

The main difference between the Up n’ Go and other gait trainers is that the others are bulky, and they allow the person to basically be sitting while their feet move. The person is actually not doing the work. The Up n’ Go mimics the gait of real walking, and the person in it is actually doing the work, safely and comfortably, taking smaller steps, and using as much support as required.


Greta Freund
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