The Hart Walker
Developed by UK inventor David Hart, this Walker allows children to experience walking often for the first time in their lives. As well as providing hands-free mobility, the Walker can also lead to a number of other health and social benefits. Parents have reported it can improve general fitness, build strength, muscle control, balance and co-ordination.
Use of the Walker allows easier social contact and increased self esteem that comes with standing, walking and playing at peer level. General health can also be improved as children who are constantly seated can experience respiratory and digestive problems.
What some parents have observed!
Their child finds it easier to play and interact with other children. They also report their child has grown faster since using the Walker and their general health and social skills have improved.
While it may appear deceptively simple the Hart Walker actually has up to 1,000 working components. It is a walking aid, which allows children with severe physical disabilities, especially those with cerebral palsy, to learn to stand and to experience hands free walking. As the child gains strength and co-ordination the support mechanism is adjusted.
Mulholland and Meywalk walkers are available for any age and size, and are suitable for children who are not able to bear weight, or are only able to do so for very short periods. Many require the ability to take weight through their arms and hands.
There are several types of Pacer Gait Trainers which provide for the higher support and control requirements of some children. The Pony Walker has more trunk control, and requires less hand grasp.
Various other walkers are prescribed which allow greater freedom than any of the above in terms of access and independent use, and are suitable for children who are at least able to be ambulant in the house. These include the U walker, Kaye walker, Spider walker, gutter walker, Grajen walker, Arrow Walker, Rollator and others.
The Chandi Walker designed in Western Australia allows hands-free mobility and is adjustable for a wide range of young children. This walker is suitable for children with mild to moderate disability who are able to bear weight and step independently when supported at the pelvis.