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Helping Kids with Technology

Your support plays a vital role in Good Shepherd’s investment in life-changing rehabilitation technology.

Watching your child take his or her first steps is one of the most exciting moments in a parent’s life. But what if your child has a disability and those steps don’t come so easily, or at all? Through the years, parents faced with this dilemma have come to Good Shepherd looking for help, and finding it.

One of the rehabilitation technology stars in Good Shepherd’s outpatient Pediatrics Program is the Trexo Plus. This innovative wearable robotic exoskeleton helps children with spasticity and mobility problems walk, perhaps for the first time. Thanks to generous gifts from the Good Shepherd Women’s Giving Circle and the Greater Lehigh Valley Auto Dealers Association, Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network recently added a small and large Trexo Plus to the organization’s Trexo fleet. This makes Good Shepherd the only provider on the East Coast to offer all three sizes (small, medium, large) of the Trexo Plus allowing us to serve children from as young as 1 through their teen years.

“This life-changing technology allows Good Shepherd to transform lives through leading-edge rehabilitation care,” says Michael Spigel, president and CEO of Good Shepherd. “Nothing quite compares to seeing a child smile as she begins to walk for the first time, or the emotional reaction from her family.”

Children who benefit from using the Trexo are diagnosed with cerebral palsy, pediatric stroke, spinal cord injury, gait disorders or other mobility problems. Trexo’s brightly colored legs allow children to walk hands-free in a safe, correct and consistent manner, all under the watchful eye of trained Good Shepherd staff.

“The Trexo puts the child in the correct alignment, and a motor at the knee and hip helps advance the child’s legs,” says Amanda Kleckner, administrative director of Good Shepherd Pediatrics. “Research shows that if you put the child in correct alignment and if you repeat the walking pattern over and over again, you have more successful outcomes.”

A pioneer in the use of rehabilitation technology, Good Shepherd received its first Trexo device in 2019. In partnership with Trexo Robotics, Good Shepherd became a testing site for the first rollout of the device, and is a designated Center of Robotic Excellence for use of the Trexo. Good Shepherd continues to be a pioneer in rehabilitation and is conducting a research study into how the device impacts children with cerebral palsy.

The Trexo is one device in an array of technology used by the Pediatrics Program and supported by the Assistive and Rehabilitative Technology Fund. “Technology is used in every treatment,” says Amanda. “and donor support is how we can get new technology.” Two pieces of equipment Good Shepherd wants to add to its technology toolbox are the My Tobii Dynavox I-13 Eye Gaze System and Galileo Vibration Plates.

My Tobii is an eye gaze-enabled speech generating device used for communication by children who are nonverbal and unable to isolate a finger or hand. The Galileo plates use repetitive vibrations to improve low muscle tone and motor learning in children with neuromuscular problems.

In the ever-changing world of technology, parents today are savvier than ever in wanting the latest technology for their children, choosing rehabilitation providers with an array of devices to address multiple needs. “High tech is almost becoming a la carte,” says Amanda. “Technology is constantly advancing and improving, and the mission of Good Shepherd is to use leading-edge technological innovation for better outcomes. As pediatric therapists, it’s our job to help them navigate this new world of accessibility for their child.”

Want to make a difference? Your gift to Good Shepherd helps children with disabilities have access to the most advanced technology for better outcomes. Please donate online today or contact the Development Office at 610-778-1075.