If you consider a gait trainer, and you aren’t familiar with the NF-Walker, you probably have many questions. We have gathered the most frequently asked questions and hope the answers given here will be helpful in your search for the most suitable gait training device for your child.
10 frequently asked question about the NF-Walker
- Who will benefit from using the NF-Walker as a gait trainer?
- What will my child gain by using the gait trainer?
- Does my child need to be able to stand or move independently in order to use the NF-Walker?
- What is the difference between the NF-Walker and other gait training devices?
- Does the NF-Walker allow my child to weight-bear?
- How do I know if my child has the potential to learn to walk in the NF-Walker?
- Does my child need to use another static standing device in addition to using the NF-Walker?
- My child has scoliosis and also some limitations in joint mobility. Is it possible to adapt the NF-Walker for this?
- How do I transfer my child in and out of the NF-Walker?
- How do I get hold of an NF-Walker to my child?
1. Who will benefit from using the NF-Walker as a gait trainer?
NF-Walker is designed specifically for children and young people with limited or no ability to move independently (non-ambulatory). It works by safely supporting the user in an upright standing position. In addition, it stimulates independent walking and participation in daily activities. The device can assist people with a wide range of medical conditions such as:
- cerebral palsy
- syndromes such as Rett syndrome and trisomy 21
- spinal cord injury
- spina bifida
- traumatic brain injury
2. What will my child gain by using the gait trainer?
The NF-Walker enables children, even with very low motor function, to stand and walk independently. This initiates better social interaction and participation in everyday activities. In addition, through more mobility the level of physical activity is increased and time spent being sedentary reduced, which has shown to have positive health effects.
3. Does my child need to be able to stand or move independently in order to use the NF-Walker?
No. The device is designed to encourage safe and comfortable motor development with good body support and postural alignment. So, there’s no need for your child to be able to stand and move independently.
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4. What is the difference between the NF-Walker and other gait training devices?
The NF-Walker uniqueness is the bracing system, which gives the child exceptional support and correction of both the lower and upper body. This allows the child to stand in a good, individually adapted starting position for independent walking. The custom-fit brace keeps the joints in the correct alignment as the child puts weight on them while walking.
5. Does the NF-Walker allow my child to weight-bear?
There is not a seat to sit on, so yes, the child will bear weight through their feet. However, the amount of weight your child will bear depends on how upright the child can be. The straighter the position, the more weight-bearing is performed by the child. Weight-bearing activity is particularly important for building and maintaining healthy bones.
6. How do I know if my child has the potential to learn to walk in the NF-Walker?
Walking is a complex movement. Our product specialists will custom-fit the gait trainer to achieve a successful walking motion. However, your child's strength and physical limitations will of course impact potential mobility. It can take time for your child to find its own way of walking and to build enough strength to master the skill. Some are able to walk during the first fitting, while others advance little by little. Walking requires a minimum ability to manage “active standing.” Often, your child needs to master active standing first.
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7. Does my child need to use another static standing device in addition to using the NF-Walker?
Your child’s complete standing program should always be discussed with a clinician who has the knowledge about your child's specific needs. General guidelines recommend aiming for daily standing. This means it might be necessary to have different devices available to meet all your child’s practical needs. However, many clinicians believe that the NF-Walker serves as a standing and movement device, thereby covering both static and dynamic standing requirements.
8. My child has scoliosis and also some limitations in joint mobility.
Is it possible to adapt the NF-Walker for this?
Yes, to some extent it’s possible to support misalignment due to scoliosis or reduced joint mobility. However, an individual assessment might be necessary to decide on the best solution. In some cases, it helps to use a brace or other dynamic upper-body supports to improve positioning and increase the comfort for the user. In case of limitations in joint mobility, the NF-Walker’s exceptional flexible system will address the need for individual adjustment and allow your child to stand and walk.
9. How do I transfer my child in and out of the NF-Walker?
There are several methods for transferring your child in and out of the gait trainer. We offer both a seat and lifting straps (hoist/personal lifter) as accessories to customise your lifting system. A product specialist, delivering the NF-Walker to your child, will train you and other caregivers on how to use the product safely to avoid injuring either your child or yourself. The product specialist will also, together with you, find the most appropriate way to transfer your child into the device.
10. How do I get hold of an NF-Walker to my child?
The system for reimbursement when purchasing assistive devices varies from country to country. We recommend that you start by contacting your local Made for Movement office or distributor for more advice on how to proceed. If we are not represented in your country of residence, you can contact our head office in Norway directly.