Dr. Jacob Eichenberger is an assistant professor of pediatrics and pediatric hospitalist at the Children’s Hospital of Georgia, as well as a dad of five. One of his children, Zella, has ADNP, a rare neurodevelopmental genetic disorder that causes severe developmental delays. His wife bought the Otteroo for Zella and she is swimming right along with her peers. Amazingly, she learned to swim before she could walk. And her parents give all credit to the Otteroo.
Dr. Eichenberger, what was your first thought when you saw the Otteroo?
I thought my wife was crazy. It didn’t seem like enough. I grew up with traditional floats, life vests, and the traditional floaties for your arms, but I had definitely never seen a neck float.
What made you change your mind?
Just until you see it being used and you realize, based on body position, that there’s really not much stress on the neck at all. It’s more of a positioning advantage.
So, once you saw that, you started to think that maybe it could actually help your daughter?
Correct. It can help other kids too, but yeah, specifically our daughter.
How has it helped Zella?
Zella needs lots of physical therapy for development. Aquatherapy removes a lot of the weight from her legs and arms and makes it easier to practice form. She has been getting aquatherapy for a long time.
So, as a former swimmer and swim team coach, you give the Otteroo a thumbs up?
I feel very comfortable saying that, yes!
It went from having to really be there supporting her the entire time to her gaining independence.
So how did you see her strength improve in using the Otteroo regularly?
It was really just what she was able to do in the water, starting to roll, which requires muscle coordination, and propelling herself to go after floating toys, to get herself to the wall. It went from having to really be there supporting her the entire time to her gaining independence. So as far as measuring strength, it wasn’t easy to see muscle strength, but it was very easy to see that she was progressing in abilities.
Do you find yourself recommending it, either personally or professionally, to other families?
I do, yeah. For the parents that are really interested in getting their kid comfortable in the water and progressing toward goals, I do recommend the Otteroo. When they are over at our house, at our pool, I usually encourage them to try it for their kids.