Charlie is now 4 and his push chair is not the most dignifying bit of kit. We have finally decided (and come to terms with) to give a wheelchair ago.
Lou has always hated the Maclaren Major pushchair- always seeing it as a very obvious and ungainly sign of disability. Despite many miles of use it has been replaced!
Charlie’s posture in his pushchair has always been a bit of an issue- slumped into it without being able to adjust the seating position. His hip tilt has always meant he sat with a very rounded back and his poor core control often meant he would lean to the side against the metal pillars. Without it being his fault he would regularly subjected to a torrent of ‘sit up straight’, ‘stop slumping’ from me as we trundled around.
When we were at Bobath we met another young lad with CP who had a wheel chair that Charlie took a shine too. He seemed to like and enjoy the idea of a wheelchair and even had a go- immediately his posture appeared better and he set about propelling himself forward and backward. It was enough for us to rethink the ’wheelchair issue’. We contacted out OT who was quite happy to refer to wheelchair services.
Charlie's WheelchairAfter a bit of a wait Lou took Charlie for an appointment to be assessed for need. The wheelchair OT felt a chair would be much better for Charlie. She felt a pommel on the seat was not required to keep his legs apart but did make arrangements for a contoured cushion instead. Charlie’s posture in the chair was that much better in the chair that he doesn’t require any postural support.
We just managed to get the chair before we had a week at Centre Parcs which was just the ideal type of environment to try get used to it and get Charlie accustomed to it.
File 10-12-2015 18 40 54Charlie has taken to the chair brilliantly and is quite happy trying to move it himself (not very well just yet though…) but it has been a revelation for us. It is much lighter and more manoeuvrable and is smaller overall which makes it much easier to get around and about. It also fits in the car much better when it folds up than the pushchair. Although it is an obvious sign of Charlie’s disability it has also acted as a bit of a focal point- he has had extra help and patience from all; an example was when we were in London when a tourist thought his Maclaren was ‘just a pushchair’ and was getting in the way at an exhibit and would we kindly get it out the way- he was mortified when we said Charlie was disabled and, in effect, it was his wheelchair!
File 10-12-2015 18 40 26We are quite set in our ideas about the wheelchairs use however; it is for long distance only. We are still encouraging Charlie to use his frame over medium distance and his sticks over short distances. The wheelchair does give us options; we would particularly like Charlie to have independence over his movement- whether than is with the chair, frame or sticks- we want to do as little as we can to encourage him to want to get about himself.

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