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Harriet Phillips & Marilyn Brown

Co-Founders, GAIT LLC

 

New Device Founded in South Bend Produces Therapeutic Treatment for Children with Autism

Therapeutic horseback riding has proven to be an effective treatment for children with autism…now two retired women from South Bend have captured the benefits in the form of a mechanical device. We introduce you to the founders of REST.

Made in Michiana:
New product calms those with neurological disorders

St. Joseph, Mich. -- Harriet Phillips has been retired for 15 years. Her friend Marilyn Brown has been retired for five months. That isn’t the case now.

 

“I am hoping it is a good crazy,” says Gait LLC Co-Founder Harriet Phillips.

 

It was about four years ago when Harriet was talking to a good friend.  Her friend told her about a family trip they were going on. She was nervous because she didn’t know how her grandson, who has autism, would respond to horses. Turns out, when her grandson got on a horse, he was a different person. That is when Harriet knew she had an idea, an idea that could help calm people of all ages with neurological disorders such as autism, ADHD and PTSD.

 

“She had said, ‘Why can't they have a horse 24 hours a day?’” says Gait LLC Co-Founder Marilyn Brown.

 

With REST or Relaxing Equine Simulator Therapy, they can. Phillips and Brown started their own company called Gait, after the gait of a horse. Now, they needed to find someone to make their product. That's where Edgewater Development, a company located in St. Joseph, Michigan, came in.

 

“I was excited. I actually had goose bumps thinking that here is something that might actually really be helpful to a community that might not otherwise receive that help,” explains Edgewater Development Production Manager Robert Blake.

 

They went to the drawing board and eventually made their first prototype. There were a lot of change that were made and the discussion started about color.

 

“It never occurred to us that color was a serious problem to autistic and attention deficit children,” says Phillips.

 

They decided on denim.

 

“Denim is universally known, accepted. Mom, dad, the kids, the neighbor's, the dog, everybody is wearing denim,” adds Phillips.

 

Finally, REST was finished. It weighs 43 pounds, has a rechargeable battery, is pressure activated and is easy to clean. It has three speeds, multiple motions like an actual horse and two different heights. Production started May 1st.

 

“What I love is when we get the reports back from the field of the units that are out there being used. The prototypes that are being used have been very well received everywhere they have gone and that is energizing,” says Blake.

 

Phillips says this product is good for anyone who has a need for it. That includes schools, private classrooms, homes, camps, the list goes on. It costs $1850.

 

Madison Elementary School has one right now thanks to a grant.

Locally-built seat helps relax kids with special needs

A local elementary school was awarded funding by The Education Foundation to purchase a piece of equipment that could help improve the lives of kids with special needs.

 

Madison Elementary School teachers tested out the REST Seat in their classroom and realized they wanted one permanently.

 

The seat works by simulating the calming motions of riding on a horse.

 

"The idea is that REST stands for 'relaxing, equine, simulated therapy,' and we have found in our testing that attention deficit, autism, and any similar neurological issues, both in children and adults, are helped by this relaxing motion," explained inventor Harriet Phillips.

 

The seat is portable and built locally in St. Joseph, Michigan.

There's a new device, designed locally that is helping those with Autism, ADHD and PTSD.

 

Video courtesy of Michiana Public Broadcasting Corporation

 

“I am hoping it is a good crazy,” says Gait LLC Co-Founder Harriet Phillips.

 

It was about four years ago when Harriet was talking to a good friend.  Her friend told her about a family trip they were going on. She was nervous because she didn’t know how her grandson, who has autism, would respond to horses. Turns out, when her grandson got on a horse, he was a different person. That is when Harriet knew she had an idea, an idea that could help calm people of all ages with neurological disorders such as autism, ADHD and PTSD.

 

 “She had said, ‘Why can't they have a horse 24 hours a day?’” says Gait LLC Co-Founder Marilyn Brown.

 

With REST or Relaxing Equine Simulator Therapy, they can. Phillips and Brown started their own company called Gait, after the gait of a horse. Now, they needed to find someone to make their product. That's where Edgewater Development, a company located in St. Joseph, Michigan, came in.

 

 “I was excited. I actually had goose bumps thinking that here is something that might actually really be helpful to a community that might not otherwise receive that help,” explains Edgewater Development Production Manager Robert Blake.

 

They went to the drawing board and eventually made their first prototype. There were a lot of change that were made and the discussion started about color.

 

“It never occurred to us that color was a serious problem to autistic and attention deficit children,” says Phillips.

 

They decided on denim.

 

“Denim is universally known, accepted. Mom, dad, the kids, the neighbor's, the dog, everybody is wearing denim,” adds Phillips.

 

Finally, REST was finished. It weighs 43 pounds, has a rechargeable battery, is pressure activated and is easy to clean. It has three speeds, multiple motions like an actual horse and two different heights. Production started May 1st.

 

“What I love is when we get the reports back from the field of the units that are out there being used. The prototypes that are being used have been very well received everywhere they have gone and that is energizing,” says Blake.

 

Phillips says this product is good for anyone who has a need for it. That includes schools, private classrooms, homes, camps, the list goes on. It costs $1850.

 

Madison Elementary School has one right now thanks to a grant.

 

EXPERIENCE
MICHIANA

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REST is a seat that you straddle like a saddle. It mechanically replicates the slow, walking gait of a horse and hopes to be a breakthrough in the care of those with ASD, ADHD and PTSD.

 

Please check back here often for news, and tell your friends, colleagues and family members about REST.

© 2017 GAIT LLC

GAIT LLC, P.O. Box 6066, South Bend, IN, 46615-6066, 844-264-REST

 

Partners and Friends

Autism Society of Indiana

Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder