Keystone Educational Collaborative uses a state-of-the-art robotic device to teach students in Worcester County and Middlesex County how to walk


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FITCHBURG – Keystone Educational Collaborative is pleased to share that it recently secured the Trexo Gait Trainer, a wearable robotic device designed to help students with disabilities learn to walk.

Collaboration using Trexo began in June, with seven students participating in the daily use of the Trexo device at the Keystone facility in Fitchburg. Keystone’s Trexo is the second device of its kind available for multi-student use in Massachusetts.

Trexo adjusts to comfortably fit each child, allowing them to maintain a standing position. It instructs the user to take sequential steps while the physical therapist monitors the student’s performance. The data is transmitted from Trexo to a tablet, which alerts the therapist when the child will begin to move independently rather than relying on the device.

Data received during sessions allows therapists to track student progress and make informed decisions about the student’s upcoming sessions, including adjustments to the user’s walking pattern, stride pace, weight bearing and the level of support the device provides.

Unlike standard gait trainers, which are not automated, the Trexo gait trainer does not require manual manipulation from a therapist to replicate walking patterns. Instead, it allows for increased repetition, which is critical, especially for those with neurological disabilities, as well as needs functional stretching and alignment correction.

“Standard gait training methods are very effective, but they are labor intensive for therapists,” said Amanda Costella, Physiotherapist. “The Trexo Robotic Gait Trainer bridges this gap to allow for a longer duration and higher repetition of steps, helping our students develop a sturdy walking frame.”

The co-op rents out Trexo for one year at no cost. The co-op won the device through the Trexo competition prize. To win the award, Keystone employees, member counties, and families formed a grassroots campaign to encourage voting. The Keystone Corporation was one of the top two vote-takers.

“As a junior program in central Massachusetts, winning was a bit out of the way, but our team was very dedicated,” Costella said. “We put out flyers, we reached out to member regions and communities – everyone got involved. There was a lot of energy surrounding the competition and it really united our community.”

The typical cost of the Trexo Gait Trainer is $75,000. The device is not covered by insurance.

“At Keystone Educational Collaborative, mobility training and adaptive equipment support is a complex component of our student care plan. This equipment is very special and students will be able to access it every day for a set amount of time,” said CEO John Demanche. “We are confident that this state-of-the-art resource will help achieve high quality results.”

“The acquisition of a device of this caliber is a reminder of the Keystone team’s unwavering advocacy for the interests of their students,” said Joanne Haley Sullivan, executive director of the Massachusetts Educational Cooperation.

To view a video of the device in use, tap over here.

About Keystone Educational Collaborative

Keystone Educational Collaborative, based in Shirley, specializes in educating children with a wide range of complex neurological, physical, and educational needs from Middlesex and Worcester counties, including students who have difficulty walking and wheelchair users.

Provides extensive educational programs and services for students with disabilities. Provides professional development for teachers; Provides relevant services to students with disabilities in member and non-member districts and provides other high-quality, cost-effective services to meet the changing needs of member districts.

Keystone serves the school districts of Nashoba Valley, central Massachusetts, and north central Massachusetts, including Ashburnham, Westminster, Ayr Shirley, Clinton, Fitchburg, Gardner, Leuminster, Nienburg, Narragansett, North Middlesex, Cowabin, West Boylston, and Winchendon counties.

To learn more about collaborating with similar initiatives in your area, please visit the Ministry of Economy and International Cooperation’s website over here.

About the Massachusetts Educational Cooperation Organization

MOEC Represents 25 Commonwealth educational collaborations. The Ministry of Education and Culture (MOEC) acts as a voice for its members and works to develop a full appreciation and understanding of educational cooperation at the state, regional and local levels. The Department of Education and Culture is the Commonwealth’s primary advocate for cooperatives and the critical role they play in the Massachusetts educational system.

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