Aspiring chess coach and avid chess player, Sean, is twenty-five years old and lives in Tega Cay, South Carolina. At five years old, he was diagnosed with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy.
Sean has been a Numotion customer since 2005 and has worked closely with Numotion Assistive Technology Professional, Todd Dewey
to obtain his mobility equipment.
“I met Sean and his family about 19 years ago during their first MDA clinic visit when Sean was about 6 years old. Sean didn’t require a wheelchair at the time but we became friends and I recruited him to become one of our longtime MDA Summer Camper‘s. As Sean’s need for mobility equipment grew, it was an honor to be there to help him,” said Todd.
Todd recalls a story Sean told him about playing football with his friends, “With his power chair, Sean could outrun all of the other kids! One thing that has always stuck out to me was how Sean’s mom and dad would always go the extra mile to ensure that Sean had the best of everything.”
As Sean grew and matured, it became more difficult and eventually impossible for him to get his hands to his mouth. This meant that he would have to rely on others to feed him. Todd met with his physical therapist and occupational therapist at his high school cafeteria. The goal was to devise a way for Sean to have his elbows propped up at a level where he could continue to feed himself at lunch. It didn’t work well because Sean didn’t like having a crazy-looking contraption nor did he want a friend to feed him in front of the entire school. Sean‘s therapist offered for him to eat in another room where he could get help from either a friend or an adult in private. Sean again refused as he wanted to hang out with his friends during lunchtime. Sean chose to simply go without eating until he got home from school each day.
“I’ve learned a lot from my clients over the years but that day I learned, or realized, that friendships are more important than lunch. I respect Sean for making this decision over and above the advice he was getting from us adults,” said Todd. “So when Sean approached me about trialing the Jaco Robotic arm, I thought back to that day when he was in High school and how cool it would've been had he had access to something like this then.”
Sean and his Numotion team worked very hard to obtain this life-changing equipment, the Jaco Robotic Arm
. The Jaco Robotic Arm resembles a full human arm that corresponds to the shoulder, elbow, and wrist.
The Jaco Robotic Arm trial was a huge success. Sean quickly learned how to operate this complex device through his wheelchair joystick. He was immediately able to pick up a fork and simulate feeding himself, grasp a bottle of water from the counter and get himself a drink. Sean can do a variety of things independently with the assistance from his Jaco Robotic Arm like: drinking, eating, scratching an itch, holding his phone, playing chess and reaching things.
“With the Jaco Robotic Arm, I can feed myself and get a glass to my mouth to drink independently. I can pick things up that have fallen. As well as use the Jaco arm to hold my Xbox controller so that I can play video games,” said Sean.
The tasks that Sean can now independently perform seemed unlimited and his dependence on others to perform all these tasks were finally removed.
“As a parent of a child with DMD (Duchenne muscular dystrophy), I am always on the lookout for adaptive equipment that will assist Sean in his day-to-day activities. The joy of seeing Sean being able to feed himself, lift a glass, or holding his phone using the Jaco arm just brings warmth into my heart. Sean has been using the arm for several months now and has named it "Newton", after his favorite NFL quarterback. Thank you all for investing the time and money to help Sean and others like Sean needing a helping hand,” said Sean’s dad.