New technology for cerebral palsy

A Bloomfield native is hoping to enrich her daughters life with a new machine designed for those suffering from cerebral palsy.

Micah (Mensch) Gallion is a 1995 graduate of Bloomfield where she was a talented athlete and among the top of her class. She had dreams of a family one day.

She married her husband, Chuck Gallion, 9 years ago and later had twin girls they named Grace and Hope.

They were born at 24 weeks gestation and weighed just 1 lb 9 ounces and 1 lb 11 ounces, respectively. The girls grandmother, Barbara Mensch, said they were so tiny you could practically hold them in your hand.

The girls were cared for in Riley Children’s Hospital NICU for 5 months.

At age 1, Grace was diagnosed with cerebral palsy. Grace is a spastic quadriplegic, meaning she has no functional use of her extremities.

According to The Center for Disease Control and Prevention official website, “Cerebral palsy is the most common motor disability in childhood and medical costs for children with cerebral palsy alone were 10 times higher than for children without cerebral palsy or intellectual disability ($16,721 vs. $1,674 in 2005 dollars).”

Grace is 100% dependent for everything.

When it came time for the girls the to start kindergarten, said Micah, her teacher could see that Grace was a very smart and bright little girl.

With that being evident, they mainstreamed her. However, as she is completely dependent on someone to help her write, color, etc, her orthopedic impairment teacher recommended an Eye Gaze assessment through Covered Bridge.

The assessment happened two days after the initial idea. The Gallions were told Grace might last 10-15 minutes because her eyes would fatigue. Grace surprised them all by lasting over an hour. The only reason Grace stopped was because it was time to dismiss for the day.

An Eye Gaze looks much like a giant iPad. With that being said, Micah says Grace can do all of her school work- just by using her eyes.

The programs are endless for the machine. There is software not only for school use, but even for turning on the television.

Mensch said the teachers were brought to tears at how well Grace was able to use the machine.

“It may sound small or silly for some, but for Grace it would be a form of independence.” said Micah.

To read the rest of this article, published in the Greene County Daily World, please click here.