We had another 'first' yesterday in our household.
Our son was fitted for a wheelchair.
Off we went to the appointment at our local children’s specialty clinic, where I expected to complete paperwork, answer questions, and watch our son be measured for a wheelchair that will best fit him.
What I did not expect was to feel a little emotional and have a range of emotions go through me in the hour and half we sat in that room.
If you have one of these appointments in your future, here are a few thoughts I came away with.
In the words of my husband regarding our son getting a wheelchair, things are going to get real.
It will be plain to us and plain to those around us that our son has special needs when he is no longer being pushed around in the same stroller he has sat in since infancy, and suddenly cruising the aisles of the grocery store in a wheelchair.
I am actually quite excited about this as it may eliminate vague questions from strangers as to how old he is, or if he has a disability (yes, people - STRANGERS have come right out and asked if our child has a disorder).
I anticipate our grocery store visits may even grow shorter if people aren’t stopping us out of their own curiosity because they see plainly that our son is in a wheelchair.
Another thing I learned yesterday was to bring help to your seating consultation!
Both of our sons PTs were involved and it made something somewhat stressful a positive experience instead.
I’ve done a lot of shopping in my days, but never for wheelchairs! (“No, Mr. Wheelchair Representative, I have no idea what kind of brakes I want on the wheelchair….”)
Our wonderful PTs knew exactly what questions to ask, and because they know our son well they were able to help make decisions about this major piece of equipment we will be using for the next several years.
The moral of this story is to bring along or consult ahead of time those people who work with your child and know what they will benefit from concerning a wheelchair.
Be sure to answer this question as completely as possible when talking to the equipment vendors and seating specialists.
One option we have for our son’s new wheelchair is glow-in-the-dark metal.
If your child goes on walks at nighttime or sits at football games in the evenings this option might be great for you!
I didn’t even know it existed.
We also had the option of a more stroller-like wheelchair versus a traditional style.
If you’re a runner and you take your child along a stroller might be the better option.
Each child’s wheelchair will look different from the next depending on how it will be used.
As a side note, we opted for the stroller bar over regular handlebars because the height can be adjusted on the stroller bar.
This way my tall husband, my short self, and our four-year-old daughter will all be able to push our son comfortably.
Do you have any advice or insight on seating consultations?
Was it a positive experience for you and your child?
Is your child a wheelchair user?