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A Parent’s Perspective on the Explorer Mini: An Introduction

Part 1 in our series about one family’s experience with the Explorer Mini.


When Mike and Sandy’s daughter Sylvia was about three months old, she was diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy type 1. Spinal muscular atrophy is a gradual decay of her motor neurons. They were told early on that mobility is a really important part of Sylvia’s development, and so they wanted to start promoting that development as soon as possible. As Sylvia’s brain and personality were quickly developing, Mike and Sandy wanted Sylvia to be enthusiastic about doing things herself. The Explorer Mini has been a big component to Sylvia’s drive for her own independence.

In this series, we are going to follow along with some questions about the Explorer Mini and the answers from Mike’s perspective as a parent and caregiver. Today’s questions are all about first impressions of the device and Sylvia’s reaction to moving for the first time in the Explorer Mini. To see the full interview, click below on Learn More.

What was your first impression of the Explorer Mini?

Mike: The first thing that both my wife and I noticed is, this is not, this is not a wheelchair. This is a toy. It looks fun: there’s stickers on it, it’s colorful, and it doesn’t have straps or harnesses. It was just a relief. It’s like okay we’ve turned the corner—we are making these things look comfortable, fun, and for kids.

What was your initial reaction when seeing Sylvia in the Explorer Mini for the first time?

Mike: The first thing I said is, “I’ve never seen her in that good of a sitting position ever.” She was upright, forward, and engaged. She is reaching for stuff. It was just so cool to see her that way. She had a smile on her face, ear to ear, and she was just so excited about the whole thing. We’ve put her in different things in the past and usually she’ll squirm and stuff. She had taken to it and it was really comfortable for her. She liked the little fish on the tray. It was cool to see her.

What was Sylvia’s response when she first moved in the Explorer Mini?

Mike: The first time that Sylvia had realized when she moves the joystick, she moves. You can see it on her face that it opened up a whole new world of possibility. It was just, she would hit the joystick and turn a bit. Then she hit it again and she turned the other way. You could just see that there was a light went on and her realizing I can do some stuff with this.


Exploration made easy with the Explorer Mini

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