Four-year-old JR Ellis loves to swim and play in the pool, but his cerebral palsy, a neurological disorder that affects his muscle control, prevents him from doing so on his own. Enter Josh Breighner, a student in the Doctor of Physical Therapy program at the University of Hartford, who introduced a floatation device named Water Strider, designed for children with cerebral palsy who love to float, glide, splash water, and paddle in the pool. Sara Ellis, JR’s mother, shares that from a parent’s perspective, the invention is a game-changer.
The mother of JR adds that when a parent’s child has a disability and cannot use the common water toys, they cannot just drop by a store and find something that suits their child’s needs. ‘The Water Strider is incredible because it gives JR independence, which is something he does not have a lot of. He just lit up when he used it,’ says Ellis. Breighner and the University have filed a patent application for it, and the student hopes to find a company that would help develop the device and make it commercially available in the future.