Physical Therapist Therese Musewicz, MSPT
My name is Therese Musewicz, I am a Physical Therapist with 11 years of experience, 8 in pedatric, practicing in a public school setting. My patients vary from mild gross motor delay to moderate/ severe motor impairment. Most of my patients have some cognitive impairment as well. I began using the Up n’ Go three years ago with a patient who was cognitively impaired and non-ambulatory. From the first day, he was able to walk using the Up n’ Go. I trained his Personal Care Assistant in the proper use of the Up n’ Go, and he began to walk every day at school, gradually increasing his distances and progressing from moderate assistance to independence. He eventually transitioned to a standard rolling walker and from there to independent ambulation, a remarkable feat.
Currently, I use the Up n’ Go for children who cannot ambulate independently or with a regular walker. It allows me to safely manage a child weighing over 90 pounds without help (I weigh 115 pounds). It allows a classroom assistant to safely and effectivley walk with this child every day, something that could not possibly be done with any other device. This student previously used a Rifton Gait Trainer, and walked a maximum of ten feet two years ago. Since last year, he has been walking 200-400 feet with verbal cues and contact guard assistance. This child now loves to walk! We have another student who also used a Rifton gait trainer and could not walk at all. In the Up n’ Go he can now walk more than 20 feet with his hands held – he has learned to advance his feet by himself.
The Up n’ Go is a great therapy tool because it provides lift and forward thrust. This helps children learn how to transfer from sit to stand properly, even very heavy children with limited cognition. The device promotes the development of a normal walking pattern by providing a dynamic component to the support provided. It also provides children who have never been independently mobile with the chance to experience the freedom that comes with movement. Thus it provides not only a gross motor tool, but a cognitive learning experience as well. The Up n’ Go saddle provides appropriate pelvic positioning, giving the children a sense of what upright standing should feel like, and allows appropriate lengthening and strengthening of the muscles of postural control. The children also seem to derive a sense of security from the device that allows them to experiment. Through play in the Up n’ Go, large and heavy childen, or children with significant neurologic/musculoskeletal impairment, have the opportunity to practice balance skills, weight shifts, bending and straightening their knees and so forth, just as a typically developing toddler would. These movements develop muscle strength, balance and help with motor training. We also use the device with children who have no righting or equilibrium reactions, so that they can walk safely with supervision. The Up n’ Go allows the children in our multiply handicapped classroom to experience walking every day at school with the help of a classroom aide who has been trained to use the device safely. No more waiting for the PT. Therapy time can be used for skilled work, rather than simply walking.
I would be happy to speak to any therapist or facility that is considering purchasing the device. Therapists would be welcome to visit our classroom.
Therese L. Musewicz, MSPT
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