It is a customised orthotic walking frame consisting of bracing around the chest, pelvis and the lower limbs. It has movable joints at the hips, knees and ankles that help guide each step while preventing any excessive or unnatural movements eg. scissoring. The bracing is attached to a wheeled frame, which allows hands free mobility.
Benefits Of The Hart Walker
Hands free mobility
Easier social contact
Increased self esteem that comes with standing, walking and playing at peer level
May also include :
Increased general fitness
Improved strength, muscle control, balance and co-ordination
Joint alignment to put muscles in their optimum position for function
To be suitable for a Hart Walker a child needs to fulfil the following criteria:
Have a consistent, reciprocal stepping pattern when supported
Must take most of their weight through their legs when supported
Be at least 3 years of age and measure no less than 90cms in total height
Instep to hip joint length to be less than 72 cm's ( for initial fitting)
Be motivated to move
Any child with a disability involving trunk & lower limbs who would be looking for a supportive walker (Mulholland, Pony Walker, Cheyne Walker)
It works best where the child has low tone, and the ability to initiate movement. Where tone increases markedly on effort it may be that other methods of influencing tone may need to be investigated for the optimum benefit.
Where the child has household mobility with a conventional walker ie: K Walker, crutches etc. this sort of walker would probably be too restrictive for them.
The cost of the Hart Walker is currently $6,500 but will always depend on the exchange rate at the time of delivery. This amount will cover the Walker (including freight), first pair of Piedro boots, the initial assessment and fitting with the physiotherapist and orthotist and adjustment sessions for the first 12 months.
On-going costs will include new boots when required, adjustment sessions after the first 12 months, and replacement parts when required, a cost of approximately $1,000 a year.
The Australian Lions Children's Mobility Foundation (ALCMF) works in partnership with Cerebral Palsy Tasmania to provide Tasmanian children with Hart Walkers. The ALCMF sources the $6,500 funding for the initial purchase, transportation and fitting of the Walker, and the $1,000 for the maintenance. Cerebral Palsy Tasmania funds ongoing training for the Orthotist and Physiotherapist to provide the Hart Walker service in Tasmania, and administers the entire program from our St John's Park Office.
Referral may be made by a parent or other agent (physiotherapist etc) acting on behalf of the parent and with their written permission.
A Referral Form is available for the Hart Walker Program -
Please contact: Barbara Olsen - Client Services manager.
Telephone: (03) 6228 4488
Fax: (03) 6228 4564