Wednesday, 23 September 2015

How to choose the right form of mobility device for children with disability

We often take our ability to move for granted, but for some people even a tiny step can be hard to take. Being mobile increases a person’s ability to interact, learn, earn a living and socialize. Fortunately, for kids suffering from mobility impairments, a range of different mobility devices and aids are available to offer motion, access, support, and to enable them to live a fulfilling and active life.


Since there are so many mobility devices for kids with special needs, it is important to make the right assessment. Assessments help to determine a child’s functional ability, physical ability, age and environmental consideration.

Assess the child on the following factors:                                                                              

Physical ability assessments of a child has to be made by a medical expert such as an occupational or physical therapist, exercise physiologists, or physicians. They evaluate, posture, muscle strength, sensation, the skeletal system, vision/perception, peripheral nervous system, stamina, ambulation capabilities, and energy levels.

Functional ability:

Assessment of functional abilities includes, 

  • Determining the physical activities of a child
  • Finding where these physical activities take place
  • Identifying places where a child wants to go but cannot go without help
  • Taking out time to know the child, finding out about their dislikes and likes; finding out their limitations.
Environmental assessment:

Every aspect of the child’s physical environment should be assessed. Information must be gathered on the following:

  • Steps (height, number, and depth)
  • Exits and entrances (length and slope)
  • Floor coverings
  • Bathroom location
  • Doorways and hallways
  • Climate
Age:

The child’s age has to be kept in mind, considered from a range of perspectives. For kids, will they grow too big for the devices? For adults and children, what is the stability of their condition? Apart from this, what is the impact of age on future needs? It is important to discuss all such questions with a medical professional.

Choosing the right mobility device for your child

Once an assessment is made by analyzing different types of aids and devices, you can discuss what will best suit the needs of your child. These include wheeled mobility, ambulation, power wheelchairs and manual wheelchairs.

Ambulation Devices

Ambulation devices include canes, walking poles, crutches and walkers.

Wheeled Mobility

A range of manually-pushed and battery-powered devices offer wheeled mobility for people who find it hard to power themselves. Such devices comprise of knuckle boards, scooter boards, powered bicycles, tandem bikes, reclining bikes, and strollers.
 
Manual Wheelchairs

Basic manual wheelchairs have been here for decades and comprise of the base components of a back, seat, and leg/footrest, driven on four wheels. The basic model of a manual wheelchair is heavy and has little adjustments. Lightweight wheelchairs are high-strength and can be adjusted for comfort. Light weight, adjustable wheelchairs decrease the center of gravity.
 
Power Wheelchairs

Powered wheelchairs tend to run on batteries and can cost between $3,000 and $12,000. A basic power wheelchair can be used by someone who can control a joystick with ease and has no weakness, spasticity or tremors in the upper portion of the body. 

If your child suffers from a disability and has to travel long distance, then you can also consider hiring a non-emergency medical transportation van. These vans have been specially built to transport people with disabilities.