That's One Small Step for a Girl One Giant Leap for a Family

February 15, 2011 by Elena Noble, MPT

Submitted by Steve Merrill, Special Education Teacher


We all remember the first words spoken from the moon in July of 1969 by astronaut Neil Armstrong, “That’s one small step for a man; one giant leap for mankind.” But he didn’t get there without the right equipment!

If you’re just beginning to use adaptive mobility equipment and you’re frustrated by slow progress, here’s a story that will encourage you to keep trying. It’s about a little girl in central California who sustained a traumatic brain injury at 14 months. She had just begun walking and getting into everything like 14 month olds do.

In the early stages of recovery from her injuries, she initially appeared to be in a persistent vegetative state which severely delayed her development in all areas. With various interventions and assistance she regained some use of her hands and a bit of speech. But a lingering effect of the injuries necessitated hip surgery and the devastating prognosis “she will never walk again.” But the trained medical personnel weren’t aware that inside that damaged exterior was a very determined little girl who would confound the experts. And this is where the mobility equipment came into the picture.


After the hip surgery, the school personnel had suggested using a Ranger Trike and were surprised to see her begin pedaling so rapidly. Following this she was placed in a gait trainer and took off. After just three weeks using the gait trainer her teacher reported that she was keeping her head up more, looking farther out, and showing improved speech and better learning. And on top of that, she was a whole lot happier.

Her caregiver reports, “You have never seen such a happy girl, laughing so hard as she burns up energy! And she is miraculously determined to run in the walker. Her Rifton Gait Trainer has changed this child’s life in so many ways. She is a totally different person! Never forget that love, care, teaching and proper medical attention can change the life of a child with significant problems and ‘issues’.”

Better yet, her care providers report that while she rarely attended school before, now with her increased mobility and determined attitude, she rarely misses. So with the right equipment, your child may yet have the Right Stuff!

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