Magazine article The Exceptional Parent

Controls for Power Wheelchairs: Choosing the Most Appropriate Control

Magazine article The Exceptional Parent

Controls for Power Wheelchairs: Choosing the Most Appropriate Control

Article excerpt

Power mobility can be considered for many children even if they cannot use a hand-controlled joystick. A child's physical abilities can be matched to the characteristics of available controls (See sidebar: "Control Options for Power Wheelchairs," page 36). Before beginning this process, it is important that the child is securely and comfortably positioned. (See "Proper Seating and Positioning," February 1995).

Once positioned, the child should be able to work with each potentially useful control with supervision, until the evaluator determines whether that control is effective. Proportional controls should be considered first because they provide fine control Switch arrays should be considered next. A single switch with scanning should be considered as a last resort; scanning systems require extra time because the user must wait for all Possible activation choices to be scanned before he or she can choose a function.

For many children, a two- or three-hour trial will not be sufficient. …

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