When you are looking for the right assistive device for your child, you often have some questions to the different devices you are selecting between. We have gathered the seven most frequently asked questions on the Hibbot for you here.
1. Who can benefit from using the Hibbot?
Children who can benefit from using the Hibbot as a walking device are those who have potential to learn to walk either independently or using a handheld walking aid. It can be children with cerebral palsy GMFCS level II-III or other neurological disorders with mobility level corresponding to the GMFCS level II-III. A good indication to decide on whether the Hibbot is relevant for the child or not, is to test if the child can tolerate standing and/or walk with manual support of the pelvis. Other indications is, no structural deformities and that the child show signs of motivation to stand and walk.
2. What is recommended age to start using the Hibbot?
The Hibbot is a dynamic walking aid that facilitates participation in everyday activities. It is recommended to start stimulating standing from as early as 11-13 months of age. At this age this is a common developmental phenomenon for most children to begin practicing standing.The Hibbot aims to replicate the physiotherapists’ hands on the pelvis and provide just enough support for the individual child to be able to stand up in a more functional and upright alignment. The device encourages activity in extensor muscles and promotes postural alignment and balance. This is a prerequisite to achieve optimal functional movement. When the child has gained enough strength to stand on their own with enough practice with extension over their hips, they then begin to learn how to walk in the device.
3. What is recommended height and weight of a child who can use the Hibbot?
The Hibbot can be used from as small as 60 cm in height and up to 125 cm. Maximum weight is 30 kg. The only parts that will require replacing in relation to the child’s growth is the brace and the wheels.
4. What are the main differences between the Hibbot and a traditional walker?
The Hibbot has a pelvis support (brace) replicating the hands of the therapist to be able to stand. There is no need to hold on to the device with the hands like on a conventional walker – hands free walking. The Hibbot challenges the child to move away from a flexed position and instead work on strengthening extensor muscles and finding balance. Small adjustments on the Hibbot makes it possible to adapt amount of support needed to either give more support or to reduce the support due to progression of the child’s motor function.
5. What type of activities can I do to facilitate my child’s experience when using the Hibbot?
The intention with the Hibbot is to use it within daily activities either at home, in the kindergarten or outdoor. We encourage you to let the child perform its standing and walking training in functional and age relevant activities. Examples: Cook the “lunch” at the play kitchen, or what about letting the child manage the shop? Children love this play. Let the child walk with a trolley, indoor or outdoor. Let the child kick a ball in the hallway together with friends.
All these activites let the child focus on the activity and participation with peers and at the same time practicing standing and walking training. This makes the training meaningful to the child. We have made a guideline for activities in the Hibbot for you.
6. Can my child fall over in the Hibbot?
The Hibbot consist of two fall protections “arms”. The fall protection-support is adjusted to be just 5-10 cm above the floor. In case the child loose balance either forward or to the side the fall protection-support will go into the ground and protect the child from falling over.
In addition, the Hibbot has a compass that is turned ON or OFF to control lateral sway. By lateral sway the Hibbot will turn back into centre and the child will walk straight forward. The fall protection-support and the compass make it possible for the child to work safely on its balance in the Hibbot.
7. What is the uniqueness of the Hibbot?
Although the Hibbot seems straightforward from the look of it, it’s a comprehensive and smart device with state-of-the-art technology built into it. Human hands have always been a challenge to replicate in the robotics field, however, the Hibbot replicates all the hand movements a physiotherapist usually uses when supporting a child while walking. The Hibbot support is adjustable and smart enough to give the child just the support it needs to progress. This makes the Hibbot unique whilst remaining user-friendly.
Read more: How did the Hibbot come about?
If you have other questions related to the Hibbot please contact us for further information.