I bought Bella a little pair of Wheelchair Gloves a few weeks ago. They are black on the palm and yellow with flowers on the outside, they are so pretty and she’s been showing them off at school. As well as this I managed to find a florescent Pink wheelchair poncho which she also adores! I love it when we find something useful that doesn’t scream special needs.
Our house is full of equipment - several seating systems, a standing frame, wheelchair, rails and special handles, walking frames, wedges - there’s lots of it. Most of it is bulky and shouts special needs at the top of its lungs.
The equipment however is all needed, whether it’s to make simple things such as watching Television more comfortable or help with our daily physio routine it all gets used. Special needs equipment is expensive, we all know that,but it’s also unattractive. I have a few favourite pieces of equipment that look good as well as being useful.
The Leckey MyPal
This is my favourite piece of equipment that we have and it was provided for Bella by the NHS which makes it even better. The MyPal is suitable for children 1-12. Bella has hers in hot Pink but it is also available in other colours. I would say that the children need some trunk control to be able to use it but there are extras such as a pommel, foot support and side pads. There is also a lap belt to ensure she doesn’t fall out. Bella uses it to watch TV or to sit and do colouring at her desk as it comes to the perfect height for her to do this. She also has the same chair at school and because it’s so pretty all the other children want to sit in it too – no one else has a pink chair!
Breezi Paediatric Chair
Bella’s Breezi chair doesn’t look out of place in the dining room at all. It’s very sturdy but looks really good and simple. It allows her to eat at the table with the rest of us at the correct height to the table. We also use it when we are doing baking together as it has a good sturdy tray that she can have all her ingredients in and she is up high for me to engage with her in the kitchen. I also seat her in it when she has her haircut and when she is painting. Again, you can get any extras you need - a Pommel, extra cushioning, footplates, chest straps depending on the amount of support your child needs. The chair itself isn’t too expensive but once you start adding the extras they are expensive, again we were lucky enough to get this via the NHS.
Bellas Trike does have a slight look of ‘special needs’ I can’t say that it doesn’t but despite this it’s still a pretty pink Trike, the extra safety measures and support are needed for Bella but they are done carefully and as delicately as possible. People always comment on how lovely it looks. It was expensive because they are bespoke builds; we raised the money with the help of a local charity. Bella absolutely loves it. We have an adult handle but while we hold it we really don’t have to push her until she gets tired. The peddles only need a slight push and they propel around themselves once she gets moving. Her smile and laughter when she is on her trike is priceless, it’s also great for her muscles to get moving.
I haven’t felt obliged to write the Upsee I do truly mean it! We got our Upsee in the very early days and I had only really seen samples – I was delighted when it came in such lovely denim looking material with – that’s right – pink lining! I thought we were going to be wearing something resembling a bullet proof vest so it was a nice surprise. I also imagined the adult having to wear something heavier but can’t even really see the belt. I also like how easy it is to store as it just folds up to go away in the wardrobe. Bella’s favourite thing to do in the upsee at the moment is open doors and walk around the garden. Having her arms free when she is in the upright position is still, after months of using it exciting for her.
While Kickers are not specifically made to go over AFO’s they do an amazing job of it! Bella’s school shoes and her pretty purple winter boots are both lace up boots made by Kickers. They have a slightly raised heel which enables her to keep her heel to the floor. They are roomy enough to get the splint in and while they are not cheap they are good quality and most importantly to her they look good. The only down size is they are fairly heavy and it takes a few weeks to get used to the extra weight when she first gets a pair.
While special needs equipment is a necessity more than anything its nice when you get equipment that looks good and ‘normal’ especially as it never comes cheap. Having your child happy to use something because its pink sounds silly but is so helpful when it comes to her enthusiasm to use or wear something.
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