NTrainer System is Helping Children Relearn Basic Skills

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LINCOLN, Neb. All babies learn how to do the basics like eating and crawling. However, imagine a traumatic injury or medical issue resetting all the basic skills.

The NTrainer System at Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital is allowing children to relearn skills like sucking and swallowing.

Madonna is the only hospital in the state of Nebraska to have the NTrainer System.

Jude Hilt was born with Congenital Heart Disease.

"He had open heart surgery in the middle of the summer and after that he required a pace maker. After the pace maker was implanted he went into cardiac arrest," Jude's mother Bobbi Hilt said.

Jude going into cardiac arrest resulted in the lack of air flow to his brain which eventually led to a brain injury.

Jude is currently an inpatient at Madonna and one of the patients using the NTrainer System. The end goal with Jude is to have him eating with a bottle on his own.

"What it does is sends through a small pulse of air through a pacifier at a rhythmical rate so that they learn a more efficient pattern for intake on a bottle," Speech Pathologist Michelle Foley said.

Jude has treatment on the NTrainer three times a day during the week and two times a day on weekends.

"We can measure the pressure that they're putting on the pacifier and how rhythmical and efficient they are. It'll give us a number of how inefficient they are and we can see over time how that improves," Foley said.

"We've really seen his endurance pick up by using this system. He's been able to take a pacifier and suck on it normally where before he would hardly even take it at all," Hilt said.

The NTrainer is used on newborns and even children as old as four years old.

"A big thing that I love about it is that it just kind of replicates that feeding, that bonding because when parents can't feed their child they kind of lose that. So when we have patients come here it's just awesome to see the parents with their child and the NTrainer," Speech Pathologist Sarah Messerli said.