AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - A new form of robotic technology in Amarillo is opening a whole new world of opportunities for local children.
Caden Smith, 4, is one of those local children, beating the odds and getting more independent each day.
"He really likes to be able to do as much as he can on his own and sometimes he'll ask for our help, but a lot of times, he wants to figure it out on his own," said Emma Smith, Caden's mother.
Caden was born with arthrogryposis multiplex congenita, which gives him contractures, or stiff joints, throughout his body.
"It's a muscle and joint disorder that basically has contractures in all of his joints from his toes, ankles, knees, all the way to his fingertips, so it's pretty much his entire body," said Spenser Smith, Caden's father.
For almost a year now, the Smith family has been coming to the Turn Center, the Texas Panhandle's only non-profit providing speech, occupational and physical therapy for children. They noticed Caden's drive almost immediately.
"He has such a heart and a will to do things on his own," said Carolina Walden, Director of Development at the Turn Center.
To help feed that independence, therapists researched a device that would help Caden feed himself independently.
"Technology is just amazing these days and some of our therapists recognized that there are options out there available that could possibly help Caden have some independence," said Walden.
The Obi, a switch-activated robotic feeding device, does not come cheap though. It retails for almost $6,000, making it hard for some families to easily afford.
"There's several fundraisers that are going on," said Spenser Smith. "We're saving some money too, but just a long list of stuff."
In Caden's first experience with the Obi, the Turn Center shared a video of it to Facebook, getting the attention of people around the world, including one very generous person.
The Turn Center surprised the Smith family with an Obi to take home, provided by an anonymous donor who saw the Facebook video.
"The donor saw the video and said, 'Oh my, this child needs to have this device. What does it cost? I want to make it happen,'" said Walden.
Now, with this gift, Caden can continue to race through life, inspiring others along the way.
The Turn Center is located at 1250 Wallace Boulevard in Amarillo.