Winter Quarter Recap 2024

Here’s a look at what some of our lab members have been up to this quarter – in the lab, around campus, and out in the community!

January:

Steele lab members, Mia, Kate, Alisha, and Katie volunteered at a UW GoBabyGo (GBG) Build Workshop. GBG is a community-based outreach program that works with families, clinicians and industry partners to provide pediatric mobility equipment to children with disabilities. The primary mission of GBG is to provide modified ride-on cars to these children to use as a powered mobility device for fun, function, and exploration.

February:

Lab members, Kate, Mia, and Megan volunteered at the Special Olympics Regional Alpine & Snowboarding Competition at the Summit at Snoqualmie.

Also in February:

As part of her duties as a TA this quarter, Mackenzie Pitts gave a Dynamics (ME230) lecture to a 200-person class. She crushed it.

March:

Mia Hoffman presented a poster on “Quantitative methods are more accurate than caregiver-reported measures for tracking a child’s mobility device use” at the Mechanical Engineering Graduate Association Poster Competition.

Mia has blonde hair and is wearing a polka dot blouse with a green skirt. She is standing next to her poster on "Quantitative methods are more accurate than caregiver-reported measures for tracking a child's mobility device use."

Also in March:

The iconic UW Cherry Blossoms graced us with their presence. Photos captured by local photographer and lab member, Megan Ebers.

Dr. Alyssa Spomer on “Gears of Progress” Podcast

Gears of Progress Episode 7 featured Alyssa Spomer on biofeedback tech to improve motor control ankle exoskeletons, and work as a clinical scientist at Gillette Children's Hospital.“Gears of Progress” Episode Seven featured Steele Lab Alumni, Dr. Alyssa Spomer on biofeedback tech to improve motor control ankle exoskeletons, and work as a clinical scientist at Gillette Children’s Hospital.

Gears of Progress Logo with three gears featuring assistive devices

Name: Gears of Progress

PlatformsSpotifyApple PodcastsAmazon MusicCastbox

Release frequency: bi-weekly on Fridays

Theme: Podcast about research and innovations in rehabilitation engineering and assistive technologies aimed to improve accessibility for people with disabilities. Every episode will feature engineers, medical professionals, end-users, and organizations who focus on improving the health and well-being of individuals with disabilities. We will be covering topics such as emerging tech, outcome measures, medical practice, public policy, accessibility education, and so much more!

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/GearsOfProgress

Dr. Kim Ingraham on “Gears of Progress” Podcast

Gears of progress Episode 5 featured Kim Ingraham. “Gears of Progress” Episode Five featured Steele Lab Alumni, Dr. Kim Ingraham on personalized controllers for lower-limb assistive robotics, powered mobility devices for kids, and a path to a faculty position.

Gears of Progress Logo with three gears featuring assistive devices

Name: Gears of Progress

PlatformsSpotifyApple PodcastsAmazon MusicCastbox

Release frequency: bi-weekly on Fridays

Theme: Podcast about research and innovations in rehabilitation engineering and assistive technologies aimed to improve accessibility for people with disabilities. Every episode will feature engineers, medical professionals, end-users, and organizations who focus on improving the health and well-being of individuals with disabilities. We will be covering topics such as emerging tech, outcome measures, medical practice, public policy, accessibility education, and so much more!

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/GearsOfProgress

Mia Hoffman featured on the Department of Mechanical Engineering website!

 

NL Zaino, Z McKee, CD Caskey, KM Steele, HA Feldner (2024) “Perceptions and experiences of first mobility aid provision for young children with cerebral palsy in the United States: a mixed-methods study”

Journal Article in Disability and Rehabilitation: Assistive Technology 

This research provides insights into the lived experiences of clinicians and caregivers of young children with CP regarding the prescription, provision, use and impact of first mobility aids, specifically ankle foot orthoses and walkers/gait trainers.

Caregiver views of impact of first orthoses (n = 8) and walkers (n = 4). Proportional bar graph depicting caregiver perceptions on the impacts of their child’s ankle foot orthoses and/or walkers on various activities.Aim: The purpose of this study was to establish and understand the provision process and impacts of first mobility aids for children with cerebral palsy (CP) in the United States – specifically orthoses, walkers and gait-trainers.

Methods: We performed a mixed-methods study including surveys and semi-structured interviews of caregivers of young children with CP (n = 10) and clinicians who work with young children with CP (n = 29). We used content analysis for the surveys and inductive coding for the interviews.

Results: Four themes emerged: (1) first mobility aids have mixed impacts and use patterns, (2) there is varied caregiver education and understanding about mobility aids, (3) clinician knowledge, consistency and connection impact care and (4) numerous access barriers exist for families, and there are still opportunities for improvement across all domains.

Interpretation: This study not only provides researchers and clinicians with an understanding of the current status of the prescription and provision process in the United States, but also offers suggestions for improvements of the process and mobility aids themselves. These results have implications for future research, mobility aid, design and the provision process of first mobility aids.