Thursday, March 1, 2012

New Wheels!!!

Emma picked up her new wheels today.  She is one happy camper!

And, my goodness, doesn't she look like such a BIG girl???!!!!  She was ready to move on up from her adapted stroller. The Kids Up FAST served her well for the last 3 years, but she had outgrown it about six months ago.  We ordered the Zippie GS with a custom seating system about 4.5 months ago and have been *not-so-patiently* waiting for the insurance approvals then the order lead times before we were able to finally pick it up today.

Emma chose the bright yellow color.  She kept picking yellow when I showed her the many, many choices.  I wasn't sure how the yellow would look, but I think Emma was totally spot-on with her choice!  It gives her chair a nice pop of color to offset all the black components.

Side view.  Note:  Anti-tip bars are removed for right now.
This chair has some great features which we didn't know about when we ordered it.  To be honest we didn't know all the much about the chair when we ordered it because so much of it was custom that we didn't get a trial run before today.  Such is the way of custom order durable medical equipment.  

Here are a few of the things we explored today that got us excited:
  • The arm rests easily raise or lower so Emma can relax her arms without accidentally hitting the larger wheels. 
  • The side supports swing open so Emma can get in the chair easily and they also adjust width-wise with the touch of a button to adjust for added bulk of a coat or less bulk without a coat.   
  • It is SUPER light.  I don't know for sure how much it weighs, but I'm thinking no more than 30 lbs. - obviously, without Emma in it ;-)  We ordered the folding chair, the non-folding chair is supposed to be even 1-2 lbs. lighter.  
  • It came with an additional seat cover.  Perfect for our current potty training mode.  And the cover can go in the washer and then hang dry.
  • The large wheels up front pop on and off with the touch of a button if you need to make it smaller to transport.  
  • The total size of the chair from front wheel to back handle is much smaller than the previous chair.  I love that I can push Emma and not feel like I am so far away.  Actually, I can push her really easily by walking next to her and putting my arm on the handle behind her.  So cool!
But the single coolest feature of this chair, and the main reason why we selected this make/model is:

Emma can reach the big wheels.  She will be able to move the chair if she wants!  And she has already realized there is power in those big wheels.  She is interested in putting her hands on the wheels and is trying to figure out how to move them.  And we've only had the chair for a few hours!  Imagine what she might be able to do with those wheels when we've had it for a year...two years...three years!  

It is our understanding that this chair works best for children who will mostly be pushed by a caregiver but might like the chance to self-propel a bit, not for children who would mostly be self-propelled (for example:  children with spina bifida).  We configured the chair with larger wheels in the front and smaller wheels in the back.  This is because Emma's tone in her arms would not really allow for her to reach behind her to try and move the wheels.  With the large wheels up front it is more of a front-wheel drive chair.  The front-wheel drive coupled with a super responsive chair means that it can fishtail pretty easily - making Emma a super happy camper when we spin her around quickly and it mimics the tilt-a-whirl ride!   I think we'll adjust pretty quickly to the front-wheel drive, but imagine we will still give Emma the tilt-a-whirl ride effect once in a while.  After all, who could resist her giggle!

A super-special thanks to our wheelchair clinic!  We are so lucky to have a great team that knows Emma's strengths and weaknesses and was able to help us pick the best chair for her that gives her room to grow herself and her skills.  Plus, they always make Emma feel like a superstar!  We truly are blessed!

6 Comments from readers:

Anonymous said...

Emma relly looks grown up in this chair, and very, very happy. It is really nice to see her in something that she may soon be able to move on her own.

Luv that smile, Emma. Keep it up.

The #1 MiMom

Tricia said...

Love that first picture. She has the best smile!

zimuzondu said...

Really nice!! Wish I can get it for my daughter. Emma looks so cute in the chair!!!

Anonymous said...

How exciting!! She really looks so tall sitting there. And that smile says it all!

Barbara said...

I'm impressed!

Looking for Blue Sky said...

Awesome chair, really delighted for your daughter. I'm in the hunt for a new one too, this will give me a bit of inspiration x