Thursday, March 3, 2011

Power Chair Testing

Emma is one lucky girl!  Besides the obvious reasons......she now has a TDX Spree power wheelchair on loan to her so we can give her a lot of hands-on time learning to drive a power chair.  For better or worse, it seems that this is what we need to do to convince our wheelchair clinic and the insurance company that she is ready to get one of her own.

The chair came with a left handle control, but I spent a couple of hours this week moving the control to the right so that she can drive it better since she is right side dominant.  We also spent time loading and unloading the chair from the car using a suitcase ramp (loaned to us with the chair!) and it became VERY clear to us why most people would want to retrofit their car once they are set on using a power chair.  I'll just say that we're going to take ample advantage of any nice weather outside to give Emma a chance to learn driving in our driveway rather than doing all the lessons at the local mall!

True to form, Emma did not disappoint us with her desire to get moving.  I'm pretty sure she has made the connection that the chair moves when she moves the joystick.  Getting her to control the movement of the chair - especially going forward which requires her to push the joystick up, a movement that is difficult for Emma - will likely take some time.  Then there is the learning of not to knock into things, people, drive down stairs, etc.  

I'm super excited about the possibilities available to Emma with power mobility!  

Here is a video I took of Emma yesterday.  It is the first time she was in the chair since I moved the control to her right side and I think she did an excellent job.  You can see the chair is a pretty good fit, but I'm trying to make an apt. with our wheelchair clinic to get it fitted for Emma and hope that will allow her to be even more successful at driving.  Way to go, Emma!

And now for some more Cerebral Palsy facts:

Cerebral Palsy is one of the most common congenital (existing before birth or at birth) disorders of childhood.  About 500,000 children and adults of all ages in the United States have the condition.

There are 3 types of CP:  
1.)  Spastic - causes stiffness and movement difficulties (this is the type Emma has)
2.)  Athetoid - leads to involuntary and uncontrolled movements
3.)  Ataxic - causes a disturbed sense of balance and depth perception

2 Comments from readers:

Karen Owens said...

I can't even tell you how happy this makes me! Seeing another child benefit from Gavin's chair is amazing. I believed so hard that Gavin should have the opportunity to have independent mobility -- and now I get to see that happen though Emma!


Katy said...

She looks great! I get so jealous when I see other kids in power chairs. I suspect that we should begin the process of trying to get one for Charlie.