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Thread: how to choose a wheelchair for my son

  1. #1
    New Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2012

    how to choose a wheelchair for my son

    My son's OT is coming on Tuesday to discuss his next wheelchair. He is 7 (quite small for his age) cannot stand or walk at all but has quite good upper body strength and posture. He attends a mainstream school and wants to be able to keep up with his friends in the playground as well as move around the classroom. He currently has an Invacare Action 3 Junior but would probably like something a bit more sporty. It needs to be lightweight and portable as we have to load it in and out of the car a lot but it also must be stable so we can encourage him to use it independently. He recently had an accident in his chair when the front wheels got stuck in a rut and it fell forward. It may be that his current chair just needs re-sizing or weighted differently but I've been trying to do a bit of research about what's out there before our meeting with wheelchair services. It's very confusing - how can I find out how much the chairs are (approx) and whether they're available on the NHS? I would appreciate some recommendations!

  2. #2
    Senior Member Lighttouch's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    I notice that your son presently has is more like a porters wheelchair where he gets about by being pushed.

    As he has good upper body strength you want to encourage him to move independently by having a wheelchair he can push himself. The wheelchair centre can obviously supply a custom made wheelchair and will service it free of charge. But for a growing seven year old who wants to look cool with his mates maybe a sporty version would boost his confidence and morale.

    The wheelchair centre can offer a cash alternative to supplying an NHS chair - probably a few hundred at max.

    If I were you I'd identify the model you want, find out the cost then apply for a free grant from a charity that helps disabled children.

    Check this out . . .

    Socially - sport is a big thing after the paralympics. He could start developing his upper body strength through jointing clubs for kids that do archery, basketball, swimming, table tennis, bocca, weights.

    Sports are the key. Try as many sports out as he can until he hits on one he likes then concentrate on it - in years to come we could be seeing him at the next Paralmpics - nothing is impossible.

    He might enjoy visiting the cinema to see the latest disney film - I can tell you how to get in 241.

    Don't forget to tell the council that your son is a wheelchair user and they'll drop your council tax band down.

  3. #3
    Super Moderator
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Living made easy has a section dedicated to children's wheelchair and accessories with advice. If you are not sure and would like to speak to someone you could contact our Helpine on 0845 130 9177, (lines are open from 10am to 4pm, Mon to Fri).

    Hope this is useful, Best of luck.
    Last edited by dlfteam; 29-04-13 at 10:31.

  4. #4
    Hey Mattsmum,

    Even though I really have nothing to add to the suggestions after the other two posters, I was wondering if you had ever decided upon a possible option that you think would work for you I might want to get one myself soon and I was wondering what you bought (and liked)

  5. #5
    I think that the NHS assessment has really saved me more money than I can image. I really could not imagine having had to pay everything for myself out of pocket. Even though I love my son, I do not think that we would have been able to afford all of his necessary things.

  6. #6
    New Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    There's some really good advice as to how to choose the right wheelchair and other mobility equipment on the NHS website. There seems to be a fair few important things to take into consideration according to them. It sounds like you want a chair that's easy to manoeuvre so your son can have some fun in the playground, this means getting larger rear wheels. There's loads of tips on the site, have a look:

  7. #7
    Overall widths and other dimensions vary across several categories of Wheelchairs. Almost all wheelchair buyers should be concerned with some of the basic dimensions such as overall width. You should begin by scouting out the lay-of-the-land. Do this by identifying the smallest and narrowest doorways, passage ways, elevators, or whatever you can think of or visualize that will be part of your day. Around the home it's usually a bathroom door or narrow hallway that limits access. Heavier users with wider chairs may see obstacles at every turn.

    In general, use the formulas below to determine the overall width of a wheelchair:

    Transport Wheelchair: Seat Width + 3".
    Standard Folding Wheelchair: Seat Width + 8".
    Reclining Wheelchairs: Seat Width + 8".
    Bariatric Wheelchairs: Seat Width + 8".

    Using the formula above, a standard wheelchair with a standard size seat of 18" wide would be ( 18" seat width + 8" = 26" overall width).

    More detailed information on selecting frame style, back style, front rigging and upholstery see Wheelchair Option Descriptions.

    Consult with each product's specifications page to get exact dimensions.

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