When it becomes necessary for a child with a disability to make use of a wheel chair, it is the responsibility of the physician, physical therapist, occupational therapist or other clinician to make the correct choice. It is also the parents responsibility to be well informed of the type of disability the child has and what impact a power wheelchair could make on them. Once that is decided, there is yet another choice that is not quite as easy; the decision between a manual wheelchair or a power wheelchair. There are two definite sides to the wheel chair debate. Wheelchairs are beneficial to a child’s mobility when dealing with a disease that deteriorates muscles and motion.
In cases of Cerebral Palsy and similar diseases or conditions, the child loses mobility over time making a manual wheelchair seem like an acceptable choice in the beginning, but become exhausting to the child in a short period. Keep in mind that most manual wheelchairs for children can only get so small and just so light. Most of the time the child is trying to maneuver a chair that weighs as much as they do with no more than upper body strength which can result in injuries, respiratory issues, positioning complications and other secondary issues. Power wheelchairs can provide a sense of freedom to a child with the ease of use and in no way promote laziness as many first think when considering a wheelchair. Of course physical therapy routines should be strictly followed to ensure against atrophy or lack of enthusiasm.
A child will never be simply placed in a power wheelchair. There are extensive tests to determine readiness and their ability to maneuver it. Allowing the child to sit in the chair for some period and letting them explore the controls in a safe environment will allow the healthcare team an opportunity to decide whether the power chair is in the best interest of the child.
All in all, power wheelchairs for children can be very liberating to a child, giving them the freedom to go places that were too difficult in a manual chair. When not overexerting on a manual chair, the child can experience a deeper level of self-suffiency and independence by not having to depend on others to push them around when they become too tired with a manual chair. Improving the quality of life for a child with a disability will always improve other areas as well such as mood, ambition and determination. As many studies prove, giving the child the ability to explore their environment allows children to develop and learn which is a crucial part of childhood development.
Of course, choosing the most appropriate power wheelchair solution requires strict guidelines not only to ensure that the best product is chosen for the child but to ensure that insurance funding will cover the cost of the wheelchair. When evaluating a child for a power wheelchair, the child’s healthcare team of therapists and physician must be involved along with a supplier with the credentials to evaluate the child for these high end products. Keystone Mobility has such credentials as we have experience Assistive Technology Professionals on staff who are highly qualified in evaluating for these high end power wheelchairs for kids along with their physical therapist and/or occupational therapist. We have been providing high end power wheelchair solutions for children in central Pennsylvania for many years. Contact us today if you are interested in trying a power wheelchair for your child so that they can discover all the possibilities by providing the best mobility options possible.