In the beginning …
In 1996, the Whitfield family of Allambie in Sydney were told about the Walker by a doctor who had seen it while visiting in the UK. Peter and Sophia Whitfield’s son Luke, then four, was born with cerebral palsy and they were determined to help him in any way they.
The family travelled to England in 1996, for Luke to be fitted with The Hart Walker. Not only did Luke experience walking for the first time in his life, but his general health also dramatically improved. The family was so impressed with the results and the positive impact on Luke’s life, they wanted as many children as possible to benefit from the Walker. They approached The Spastic Centre of NSW to raise funds and start The David Hart Walker Program in Sydney. The Children’s Mobility Program incorporating the Hart Walker was established in November 1996 by The Spastic Centre of New South Wales and was granted the Australian licence by David Hart.
In February 1997, in response to the Whitfield family’s request, The Spastic Centre sent five children, accompanied by their parents, an orthotist and a physiotherapist, to England to be fitted with the Hart Walker. The therapists were trained personally by David Hart, in the fitting and ongoing care, training and monitoring of these young children as they develop and grow. In February 1998 The Spastic Centre sent another Orthotist and Physiotherapist to England for training to prepare the program for the increasing demand. The Spastic Centre’s trained staff are authorised by David Hart to train physiotherapists and orthotists to fit and maintain walkers around Australia, making it possible to have teams trained in every state. There are children enjoying its benefits in every state and territory of Australia.
The demand for the Walker is constant, because as more children are fitted, word spreads about the Walker’s benefits, and new children are added to the list for assessment. The Walkers are imported in kit form from Canada.