With Some Robotic Help, Adam Is Making Progress with His Cerebral Palsy
Adam’s family moved from Egypt so he could receive world-class treatment for his cerebral palsy. When he visits the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Center for Advanced Technology and Robotic Rehabilitation, he gets to feel free.
“Cerebral palsy isn’t a disease—it’s more like a lifestyle,” says Adam’s mother Amany.
In fact, Adam’s condition is what brought his family all the way from Egypt. They moved to Atlanta in 2011 so that he could receive leading pediatric care and expertise from Children’s.
“I’d heard wonderful things about Children’s,” Amany explains. Soon after arriving, Adam underwent two intensive hip surgeries and then began regular physical therapy.
But his condition wasn’t improving. Together, she and Adam’s care team decided to take advantage of newly available robotic therapy.
Therapists at the Center for Advanced Technology and Robotic Rehabilitation use the latest technology to help children and teens recover from injuries or disorders that hinder their motor skills. The center resembles a futuristic gym, with specialized machines equipped with sensors that detect each movement to improve balance, strength and mobility.
For Adam, robotic therapy helps him navigate the limited mobility that comes with his cerebral palsy, a congenital disorder that affects his muscles, balance and posture. Starting in 2015, he visited the center two or three times a week.
On the Bioness Vector, Adam is supported by a harness training system, allowing him to practice walking and balancing as the system adjusts to his movement. Here, he’s safe from slipping and falling, allowing him to build confidence in his abilities.
“His work in the gym is important for his quality of life and for helping him be the best that he can possibly be,” says his mother Amany.
Robotic training helps patients do things they might not be able to do while unassisted. “Adam primarily uses his wheelchair for day-to-day mobility, so being able to use the harness to help him get on his feet and walking was a great motivator,” said Erin Eggebrecht, PT, DPT, NCS, Clinic Specialist at the center.
Adam also uses the functional electrical stimulation (FES) bike, a machine that helps develop function through repetition and biofeedback. Small wires stimulate the nerves in his legs as he pedals, building both strength and range of motion.
Building confidence and strength
“These machines set him free,” says Amany. For a few moments each week, Andy gets to do things that other kids take for granted: walking, jumping or even playing basketball.
After 12 sessions, Adam’s doctors had already noticed significant improvements. His posture is better, and he is standing more often. For short periods, he can walk without crutches.
“Adam loves working out at the gym. He gets excited—he sees the hope. He knows he’s making progress,” says Amany.
For many kids with conditions like Adam’s, robotic therapy can be a great help, both building physical strength and boosting confidence. At Children’s, we’re excited to witness what’s possible when technology and care come together to improve lives.