Welcome to “Help My Child Learn to Walk,” a special project with the goal of shining a light on the very real needs of some non-ambulatory children and adults at the Morrison Center in Scarborough, Maine. “Help My Child Learn to Walk” is a fundraiser fueled by a mother’s love and her rekindled dream to have her severely disabled child learn to walk. There are many families with this same dream for their loved one; below are the blog entries of two such mothers. Squarely behind each of these women is a loving family and a caring special-purpose school, all coming together to make something very magical happen: to secure a powerful, state-of-the-art device that will teach many at the Center how to finally walk.

What the LiteGait gait trainer does for even the most challenged and difficult users is nothing short of amazing. But we need your help this spring and summer to raise the funds that will make these personal breakthroughs possible for Leland and Miles and their comrades. Read on for the blog entries of these two hopeful mothers, and please consider making a tax-deductible donation to the cause by clicking the “HOW TO DONATE” link on this page. We promise to post follow-up images, progress updates, and success stories once the therapy begins.

THANK YOU for your generous and crucial help getting these deserving children walking.

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First Steps

The video clip below shows our son Leland trying out the LiteGait gait therapy system, a unique support and treadmill package promoting balance, posture and mobility. The picture is grainy, the audio poor and it’s hard to see what is really going on. But what’s going on is amazing.

Leland’s teachers, therapists and classmates at the Morrison Center preschool program can tell he’s having a great time on this equipment by his hooting – they know how Leland communicates without being verbal. In the same way, Leland moves despite being non-mobile. Put him on the ground and watch out as he rolls and twists into the next room. Our son moves, he just lacks the structure and coordination to put everything together in the right sequence.

Working with a LiteGait system offers Leland a chance to be out of his wheelchair, unbelted from his standing frame, and up off the floor. It offers him a chance to use what little vision he has to look you in the eye instead of staring at your shoes. It gives Leland a great chance to understand the idea of walking.

The Morrison Center helps Leland and many other boys, girls, men and women, to learn these steps every day. It is slow, patient, careful work performed with great dignity. Their not-for-profit education, therapeutic, peer and work programs actively strengthen families and communities. The response in return has been generous support for annual and specific needs campaigns.

Our goal is to purchase a LiteGait system for the Center through tax-deductible donations and we encourage your help in realizing this very achievable aim. Donations can be made via PayPal directly through this blog, or to the Morrison’s LiteGait Program.

A LiteGait complements and enhances Leland’s other therapies, providing a safe application for his growing skills. The LiteGait allows Leland to stand erect, bearing sufficient weight to develop viable leg muscles and form functioning hip joints, and pattern what walking should feel like. Combined with the skill and dedication of the Morrison Center staff, it’s the best tool to ensure the dream that someday Leland may walk up to you and hoot “Hello!”

Thank you for helping our son and the many other sons and daughters at Morrison who will benefit every day from your generous support. – Catherine Taylor | Gary Coccoluto

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A Special Wish for Our Son

Hi, my name is Michelle, and I am the proud mom of a hard-working six-year-old named Miles who faces tremendous challenges every day. My son attends kindergarten at the Morrison Center in Scarborough, Maine. The Morrison is a private, not-for-profit agency that specializes in serving individuals with developmental disabilities who are medically fragile. Finding the Morrison was a godsend for us, given Miles’ total care requirements and medical complexities. Miles attended two years of preschool at the Morrison, and graduated that program, which was a moving day for our family. We feel very fortunate that Miles continues to attend this extraordinary special-purpose school where he is truly understood, appropriately supported (no small feat), and as a result, flourishing. And we are overjoyed that he will be attending first grade there next year.

Our son is non-ambulatory and wheelchair-bound. Since he was one year of age, he has received physical therapy services several times a week. For the last four years, I have dreamed of starting Miles on a LiteGait treatment program to have a chance to learn to walk. I had heard about the LiteGait’s amazing results from his first physical therapist; it is essentially a suspended harness which can be used over a treadmill or in other configurations. There is strong evidence that the LiteGait greatly accelerates a child’s learning to walk compared to other treatment options.

Miles has finally achieved the requisite head control and overall strength to make gait training possible. Recently he has demoed a LiteGait device at another facility. Since the first session, Miles has consistently surpassed his physical therapist’s gait-training expectations of him. And in just a few sessions, he has already started doing the hard work of trying to move his legs on his own. He tolerates the LiteGait beautifully, as does most every child who uses it. This progress is nothing short of remarkable for our boy, and we want more of it for him! If Miles’ school can get its own LiteGait machine, Miles and many others will be able to work on learning to walk up to five days a week, giving them the best chance at becoming successful walkers.

We hope you will help this very worthy cause with a tax-deductible donation to the Morrison Center for this critical new piece of equipment. Donations can very conveniently be made through this blog, either using the PayPal option or by mailing a check directly to the Morrison’s LiteGait Program.

Please help us to give our son Miles, and others at the Morrison, the fundamental and miraculous gift of learning how to walk. Thank you for your support and generosity.

Our son's first-ever time learning to walk.

Miles loves to learn to walk.

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