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Children's Physical Therapy: Hi Tech Solutions: June 9, 2011

Getting AJ Chamorro upright and moving is a milestone.

“AJ is seven years old, at birth he was premature and was diagnosed with cerebral palsy,” says his dad Angel Chamorro.

Christine Bihler is his physical therapist at the Children’s Specialty Clinic in Naples, which is part of the Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida.

“He's not able to sit by himself he's in a wheelchair, is not able to stand by himself and he's not able to walk,” Bihler says.

AJ is showing marked improvement thanks to the help of a high tech innovation. It combines a harness, tether and track system called the Solo Step with advanced video game technology.

“When he comes in I'll have him attached to this harness and then this will clip into here and he'll be standing,” Bihler describes the process.

The Solo Step was originally meant to help people walk with a prosthetic leg, now it’s widely used in physical therapy.

“We attach them to this and are able to do some supported standing activities so it doesn't require as much hands-on assistance.”

With AJ safely in place, he is able to interact with a video game that tracks his movements. It is the same technology used in Xbox and Wii and acts as a motivator in his physical therapy.

It works on his upright posture which also helps his breathing and digestion.

His family and therapist have noticed a big difference in AJ’s strength and coordination. 

“You want to try to get them as functional as possible to be able to do whatever it is that they can with their body,” says Bihler.