The first time Sarah Wilder saw the Otteroo she thought to herself, “I wonder if that’s a really awesome idea or a really terrible idea?” She tucked it away in the back of her mind, and then she saw a similar device at her daughter’s first aquatic therapy appointment. Sarah’s daughter, Eliza, has spina bifida, and as part of her water rehab, the therapist used a neck floatie. Eliza loved it so much that Sarah bought an Otteroo from her phone before they left the parking lot.
Sarah bought the Otteroo when Eliza was 9 months old, and they’ve been using it at least once a week ever since.
How does Eliza use the Otteroo in aquatic therapy?
She loves the water, and so it’s been this awesome therapy tool for us because of her spina bifida. It gets her moving and kicking. It’s an awesome workout. It gives her a freedom she doesn’t really have outside of the water, especially when she was littler, just to move and not have someone constantly holding her.
How do you know Eliza is having fun?
She’s smiling and happy and just kind of giggling at you, and she just wiggles all over the place. With spina bifida, there’s typically not a whole lot of movement, especially with the lower half of their body, and the water allows her to be weightless. And, it’s so much easier for her to use the limited movement that she has.
Have you noticed improvements in Eliza’s mobility since using the Otteroo?
Oh, definitely! She has exploded over the summer and into the fall with being stronger with her legs. She does the aquatic therapy and she also has some braces and a walker. She has really picked up the strength to be able to kick, and to be able to stand, and to be able to do things that are more like typical babies her age. The Otteroo has definitely played into that with the aquatic therapy and the workouts she has in the pool.
Do you recommend the Otteroo to other parents whose kids have spina bifida?
Absolutely! I recommend it to everybody, but definitely for special needs. I think it offers an additive thing that their child may not experience, like another kid might, with the lack of mobility. Or even something like down syndrome, or anything like that, where kids are struggling to find their own, and to work out how things work for them. And, I think it’s a great tool to use to give them a lot more freedom and independence.
You can read more about Eliza on Sarah’s blog, Expecting Eliza.