Monday, June 27, 2016

A Wheelchair has many possibilities for a parent with a disability

A wheelchair isn't just a device to help you be mobile. As a parent with a disability, a wheelchair becomes another tool to assist you in the journey of parenthood. Using various functions of your chair can provide independence and fun for both you and your child.

The first rule in my household was to teach my children not to use my joystick unless given permission. My daughter caught on to this rule pretty quick. She's also more cautious and not wanting to get hurt. My son, on the other hand, is much more adventurous.  When he was crawling, climbing and beginning to walk, I needed to park my wheelchair in another room if I wasn't in it. He didn't quite get no and we didn't want to hurt anyone especially himself.

Now that he's older, he knows not to touch my joystick.  He knows that it's mommy's wheelchair and he needs permission.  My daughter is older and is able to drive my chair if needed and understands all of the functions.

The tilt function on a motorized wheelchair is great for a million reasons. But for a mom with a disability, tilt is an awesome tool. Both of my children have benefited from my tilt function making all of us just a bit more independent. 

When my son was two years old, he became fascinated when I tilted my wheelchair back. I let him stand on my footrests and will say, "up!" I slowly tilt my wheelchair as I have a firm hold on him with my knees.  I never go too high and go down. At two, he liked it simply for the fun of it and being with me. Also, he learned up and down plus how to ask questions. 

Now that he is three, he uses tilt for more functional purposes than just entertainment. For example, when he wants to get something off of the table or counter, he will come and ask me to help him. He gets on, I tilt enough so he can reach the item and lower him down.  It makes him happy to be able to get what he wants and me happy to help him. 

If my daughter is unable to reach something in the refrigerator, I can also help her by this tilting function. I absolutely love to assist my children as best as I can so things like tilt help make that a reality.

My son will also use the footrest as a stool. We work together to reach something he or I needs.  However, in many cases, it isn't a necessity but he wants candy from the jar or a pretzel from the container.  I also can carry him on it if we need to quickly get out of a rain storm as an example.

Another fun use of a motorized wheelchair is pulling your child on roller skates or a roller blades. They can hold on to your handle bars as you drive and they'll go gliding behind you. This definitely will up the fun level in the day.

Using your wheelchair with children makes life fun and helps you be independent with your children. They both know the do's and don'ts with my wheelchair but I never want them to fear the chair. Be cautious but always use creativity. 


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