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My Kids Can Now Explore the World With Robotic Legs

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Last month was an exciting one at the Carter household as I installed robotic legs into our kids’ gait trainer “walkers.” So, now they can walk around the house and explore outside with the assistance of a robot!

Sounds crazy, right? Here’s a video of both of them using it for the first time (My daughter Adelaide is saying it’s “so fun” but her little face tells you she’s still not so sure about the whole thing… so cute).

For those who aren’t familiar with their story, our 2-year-old twins both have a rare genetic disorder called spinal muscular atrophy that leads to body-wide weakness.

I want to share the backstory of this amazing piece of robotic technology because it holds a lesson for all of us — especially in these very interesting and difficult times.

Manmeet Maggu, the co-founder of Trexo Robotics, has a nephew with cerebral palsy and the family was told he’d never be able to walk. Most people who receive news like this, whether it’s about themselves or a loved one, will simply accept what the doctors tell them. Some will not.

Maggu was not willing to simply accept this news and go about his life as usual. He searched and searched to find solutions that would help his nephew experience walking someday, but the robotic exoskeleton options available at the time were only for adults.

So, he created the first one for children. 

It took many years and they had to overcome many significant challenges, but now his nephew along with many children around the world can enjoy the feeling of walking when they never would have otherwise. (You can watch his inspirational TedX talk here.)

For many people these days, it feels like we’ve lost a certain level of control over what’s happening in our lives. Unfortunate outer circumstances have been imposed on our lives and it’s becoming increasingly difficult to handle the longer it drags on.

I hope we can all be inspired by Maggu’s love for his nephew, and his initiative, and perseverance in finding a solution where one didn’t previously exist.

Let’s especially follow his lead in using the things that we can always control: mindset and effort.

If something doesn’t have a solution, create a solution

If something important to you is broken, fix it. If it can’t be fully fixed, find a workaround. 

Mindset is just like a muscle. If you work at it, it’ll get stronger. We can choose to let our current situation feel out of our control, or we can allow it to motivate us to work on our mindset and our view of the situation. 

If that occasionally feels impossible, just remember that your next step is always your choice. It can be the first of many steps in a happier direction, and just as Maggu finished his TedX talk above, I’ll leave you with an ancient Chinese proverb: “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” 

Jarod Carter PT, DPT, MTC is a Doctor of Physical Therapy and the founder of Carter Physiotherapy, where active people in Austin go to quickly recover from injury so they can keep playing their sport, exercising, and enjoying life. Offering specialized hands-on manual therapy as well as online telehealth treatment options, all sessions are one-on-one with a Doctor of Physical Therapy and designed to get you maximal results as quickly as possible. Jarod is also the author of two books and has helped thousands of healthcare providers around the world to create private practices offering the highest level of treatment and care. Jarod provides monthly resources and discounts specifically for Austin Fit Magazine readers here: www.CarterPT.com/AFM 

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