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Assistive Device Transforms the Dining Experience for Young Patient

Given a 5% chance to live, 11-year-old patient Brooklyn has spent her entire life overcoming seemingly impossible obstacles.

Maybe that has a little something to do with both her favorite saying, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way,” and the care she’s received at Shriners Hospitals for Children — Greenville and Shriners Hospitals for Children — Philadelphia.

Born with arthrogryposis multiplex congenita (AMC), a condition that causes joint stiffness and issues with mobility, Brooklyn has worked with multifaceted rehabilitation teams and undergone a number of surgeries at the Greenville Shriners Hospital to improve the functionality of both her arms and legs. And everyone who meets her understands why she’s come such a long way – her attitude is determined and her optimistic outlook is unflappable.

While she’s always been intent on feeding herself using various methods, she recently began using a robotic device called Obi that’s made the experience so much easier – and more rewarding. A “revolutionary dining device for individuals who lack upper extremity function,” Obi has offered Brooklyn an impressive level of independence during mealtime.

Controlled by any part of the body that can operate a switch, automated Obi effortlessly captures food from one of four compartments before smoothly transferring it right to the eater’s mouth.

Now, because she doesn’t have to struggle while feeding herself, Brooklyn enjoys food – preferably grits or pudding – and time spent with friends and family more than she ever thought possible.

“Brooklyn is very independent. She wants to be able to do things by herself, and Obi has given her a greater sense of autonomy,” said Brooklyn’s mom, Cathy.

In fact, Brooklyn’s whole family has seen the device positively impact the spunky pre-teen.

“If you watch her at mealtime, you’ll see she smiles the whole time,” said Cathy. And that’s a very good thing – Brooklyn’s smile can light up any room. “It’s just gold.”

Brooklyn eating

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