There are encounters that can suddenly change the vision of life.
"Sarah is 5 years old. She suffers from a genetic disease. She does not speak well, she can't stay up right, she has just started to catch the objects but with great difficulty. She can’t manage without being assisted. Every day after school, she is welcomed in a specialized center where she participates in physical therapy sessions and psychological support.” Her mother tells us.
Here is the daily life of a young deeply disabled child, her care occupies her daily life. This child is not like the others, but ultimately she is still a child.
The problems associated with motor disabilities are a major public health concern since the establishment of rehabilitation activities are so complex and specific that there are no real solutions on the market.
The project began in 2007. Mauricio Ortiz, a young Colombian designer and engineer, leads a research project in the field of biomechanics in cerebral palsy, supported by the Roosevelt Institute and the University of Los Andes in Bogotá. In 2008, he came to the INSA Toulouse as part of an academic exchange and pursued his research project to allow young children with motor disabilities to better succeed when undertaking rehabilitation activities.
Through his research, he observed that the most common problems were focused on upper limb rehabilitation (gripping abilities). Acknowledging the importance of the upper limb movements in daily life activities, Mauricio considered them fundamental for children early childhood development.
Innovation for social change
This ambition became reality with the development of a patented medical device, focused on wrist rehabilitation, dedicated to young children with motor disability from cerebral origin.
Based on biomechanical and social sciences studies, by using animal figures and colors, the wrist device became an original solution for the first time that turned a tedious therapeutic procedure into a fun activity.
If tests have been conducted in medical environment and mobilized the support of the communities concerned, attesting to the soundness of the product and its ability to generate positive effects on the rehabilitation program, the idea was materialized in the first time with a precarious feature presentation model.
A new optimized version was developed in 2014 to highlight the therapeutic value of the concept and to address progressively marketing. Extensions of industrial property rights were conducted in the USA, China and the 28 countries of the European Union.
Compared to the accompanying, consulting and travel fees associated with conventional therapies, the product is intended to be accessible to the greatest number of patients because of its price and its "almost intuitive" use.
This original approach has already attracted significant interest from the scientific community and worldwide media.
And now, what's the new mission?
Building on the success of this experience, but also aware of the interest and novelty of the concept, we decided to continue the future development of the project with the creation of a program of activities for 4 months, with the objective to act on improving the autonomy of young children with motor disabilities from a very young age :
a) By enabling the home exercises to encourage a therapeutic dynamic with parents.
b) By motivating children to use this product regularly to teach them to practice the wrist movements necessary in daily life.
c) By showing that there are practical and affordable solutions to situations of helplessness and denial of the child over traditional rehabilitation.
This programming will be carried out in partnership with the Toulouse Children's Hospital between August and December 2015.
Last year, a cooperation agreement was signed with a specialized center based in Frankfurt, Germany, to make the wrist device available to 150 disabled children and their families.
The feedback was amazing and the children experienced improvements from the first use. Several specialized centers were equipped and some letters of intent were signed.