There are many challenges when it comes to juggling the needs of a family when one child has additional needs or a disability. One I can relate to is the juggle of having one child in a wheelchair, who is unable to self-propel, and a little one in a pram. With a 7-year age difference between BJ and AJ I used to find this a particular problem in school holidays. BJ was keen to be out and about, Hubby was at work and AJ was still needing a pram. My parents used to help out by coming along with us on outings and sometimes I’d hire someone to help. It was a short period, but difficult and often frustrating. Once AJ was old enough to be walking longer distances we added a bar to BJ’s wheelchair (see later in the blog) which she could stand on when she got too tired to walk.
MODIFYING A WHEELCHAIR FOR A SIBLING
Knowing what a challenge it can be getting out with two children, I was thrilled to see the great solution one of our families came up with which has made life easier for their family. A big thanks to Liz for sharing how they modified a wheelchair for a sibling and for supplying me with lots of photos.
Liz said they started by going to Baby Bunting to check out all the options and tried them with the wheelchair to see what was likely to work once modified. Liz said if the seats were in boxes they asked the staff to open the boxes. I think when you have such specific needs that’s a really great idea and quite reasonable.
Liz has modified a pram skateboard (EZ Rider) for her daughter Matilda’s wheelchair so her younger daughter can ride along making outings easier for Liz when she is taking the girls out alone.
Liz’s husband modified the height of the seat so it clips on to the top bar on the back of the wheelchair.
He cut a piece of metal and attached it.
When Liz’s younger daughter decides she wants to walk the seat can be held off the ground with a strap. See picture above.
You can see full details of the EZ Rider seat here.
We had the pleasure of meeting Matilda (pictured above) when we visited Bear Cottage. Matilda has Batten Disease which is a life-limiting disease. Little Matilda had developed typically until a year ago when she went from walking and talking to being in a wheelchair and fed through a gtube. Matilda’s family are doing their best to ensure she lives a full life and the adaptation above is an example of their desire to find solutions to difficult situations.
If you’d like to read more about Matilda you can see her Facebook page here.
As I mentioned above, when AJ was little we had a step welded to the back of BJ’s wheelchair so she could ride along. It was obviously only good when we were actually pushing as it made the back tippy. It worked a treat for a short period of time and was simple.
Once AJ was too tall for the step, we added a buddy board to the back of the chair. As you can see from the smiles, it too was a popular solution.
And of course, when all else fails and you grow up, you beg you brother to let you sit on his lap and use the brakes as a footrest. Lucky they are so close and love being together.
Thanks to Liz for sharing the seat solution.