CHAGRIN FALLS, Ohio — A local mother is working to help children in pain, creating software that allows pediatric patients to practice physical therapy at home.
Lindsay Watson, a physical therapist, began developing the program in 2017. She never imagined the first patient to test out her program, called Augment Therapy would be her little girl.
“The doctor said that we were basically 12 hours away from her losing her leg,” said Watson.
Diagnosed with Septic Arthritis, Piper, 4, at the time needed surgery. Watson describes the recovery as difficult. Her daughter did not want to follow orders to get moving.
“It was a very difficult experience not only for my daughter, but for me as well. She was in a lot of pain, resisting the therapist and refusing what she needed to do to get better,” said Watson.
The software still in development uses a camera to capture and reflect a patient’s movements. Kid friendly animals and other appealing characters then prompt the user through a series of movement activities. Watson said turning the physical therapy into more of a game made kids actually want to play.
“The old way where you do things, where you bring your child to the clinic twice a week for ten years at a time to get your therapy, is just too difficult to maintain,” said Watson.
According to Watson, Augment Therapy is the first company to collect data on quality of movement that does not require pediatric patients to wear special equipment like sensors.
Watson said she is looking forward to witnessing her young company make healing easier for children. She envisions the program operating like a monthly subscription service when ultimately launched.
A spokesperson for University Hospitals confirms they have been in communications with Watson regarding the program. Watson said she plans to present the program to the UH Institutional Review Board to approve her research study.
“I think we can do better and we need to do better for our kids,” said Watson.
Click here to learn more about Augment Therapy.