When is the right time for a wheelchair

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-28-2005
When is the right time for a wheelchair
2
Fri, 02-23-2007 - 12:08pm
My son Braden is 10 1/2 months old, so his stroller will be sufficient for quite some time, but at what point do you consider getting a wheelchair?

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iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Sat, 02-24-2007 - 12:05am

That is a really tough call. To be honest, I have only ever worked in a pre-k - 5 setting (students who are deaf-blind), so I have not seen any really young kids (under the age of 3) using wheelchairs. One of my students (CP, deaf-blind) started out in a stroller, but left my classroom walking (and running). I had another student who came to me in a wheelchair (balance and fatigue issues) and only used it for long distances and field trips. He pretty much ran around the room most of the time (and I ran after him because). I would consult with your son's physical therapist if he starts to get too big for a stroller and too heavy to carry, but is not walking (either independently or with a walker or other support item) yet. That being said, a former student of mine has a sort of adult stroller that she uses (alternating with a walker). It is safer for her since she does not see well enough to propel a wheelchair, has absolutely no fear (quite a daredevil), and can be impulsive when she wants to get up and go. She either propels it with her feet (which gives her reaction time when she comes upon a curb or other obstacle) or someone pushes.

Your best bet, I think, is to consult the doctor and the PT when the time comes.

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-19-2006
Sat, 02-24-2007 - 4:53pm

I don't know if this helps, but here in Ontario, we have Assistance for Children with Severe Disabilities and they helped us purchase a KidKart for Brigid as she wants to be engaged with her environment but cannot sit upright in a stroller for any length of time. The KidKart looks like a stroller (to the casual observer - I have been asked a number of time where to buy one) but is more supportive and will grow with the child until 4 or 5 years of age (depending on their size). At that time, you can decide whether or not you want to step up to a wheelchair for your son or get a larger adaptive stroller.

Usually by 5, the child is less bothered by the concept of a wheelchair than a stroller - strollers are for babies after all ;). I think it is harder to imagine having a child in a chair than to be a child in a chair. KWIM?

Hope that helps, if I can answer any other questions for you, let me know.

Allison