Robotic Legs Give Parents Hope that Son May Learn to Walk
When Rhonda and Jeff Rosenlieb's quadruplets play hide- and-seek, Rhonda instinctively wonders how to get her smallest son in the game. Since the now 6-year-old quads were babies, Dillon was always the last to reach milestones and to achieve what came easier for his sister and brothers. He and his identical twin, Darian, have cerebral palsy. While Darian learned to walk much like his siblings who are developing typically, Dillon's motor function remains far more impaired. Dillon uses a wheelchair and is unable to participate in the running and chasing that goes on in the house. There is little the Rosenliebs would like more than for Dillon to catch up. They have tried every therapy they can find to improve the way he moves. Their best hope yet is a pair of robotic legs at Cincinnati Children's on a machine called a Lokomat, which suspends Dillon over a treadmill and guides his movements with computer-controlled braces. It is the closest thing to walking Dillon has ever felt. His parents and doctors hope it can train his muscles and his mind to do the real thing on his own.