Magazine article The Exceptional Parent

Permobil Power Chairs. (Special Advertising Section)

Magazine article The Exceptional Parent

Permobil Power Chairs. (Special Advertising Section)

Article excerpt

Modular Design Ensures Permobil Power Chairs Respond to Every Child's Unique Needs

When a child must use a wheelchair, mobility immediately becomes an issue of utmost concern. Believing that each child has unique needs is the reason that Permobil offers the Playman/Robo[TM] and Chairman KOALA[TM] pediatric power chairs, and the MiniFlex[TM] seating system on its TRAX[TM] and Chairman ENTRA[TM] chairs. Owned by a private, nonprofit Swedish foundation, Permobil has a worldwide reputation and a global impact. From the company's founding, Permobil has always believed that the chair must fit the user, not the other way around.

Permobil began as a challenge for one man

Permobil's beginnings date to 1963 when Swedish physician Per UddEn heard about one of the first power wheelchairs from a U.S. colleague. At a time when the prevailing attitude was to ignore the existence of the handicapped, UddEn believed that everyone had the right to live life to the fullest, and he requested one of the new wheelchairs for a patient.

The chair was a disappointment from the beginning. Barely working outdoors, it couldn't even manage interior door thresholds. When the supplier told him it was impossible to design a power wheelchair agile enough for indoor use but strong enough to use outdoors, UddEn, with hospital machinist Bert Engman, began working in the hospital basement to prove him wrong. The first Permobil power chair, a huge advance in design, set the pace for innovations to come and resulted in pediatric power chairs with almost unlimited options.

The Playman/Robo's front-wheel drive allows the child to easily negotiate obstacles outdoors, and it has a nine-inch seat elevator that allows the child to easily reach higher objects. Its programmable P&G Pilot+[TM] controller allows adjustment of acceleration and deceleration to suit the child's driving ability; the Omni+[TM], alternative drive switch is optional. The joystick swings out of the way, making transfers as well as access to tables, desks and counters easier.

A second pediatric chair, the Chairman KOALA, is built with the same rugged motors and front-wheel technology as Permobil's adult power chairs but is scaled to fit the needs of a child. Compared to a standard rear-wheel drive chair, the KOALA base is only 22 inches instead of 26 inches and its length is 38 inches rather than 41 inches. …

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