Magazine article The Exceptional Parent

The Mobility Team

Magazine article The Exceptional Parent

The Mobility Team

Article excerpt

Mobility equipment is an essential part of the user's life. It should fit the user's personality and lifestyle. It should provide dependable mobility, and improve posture and function. Selecting a piece of mobility equipment should not be undertaken casually. The consumer will benefit from the advice of a mobility team.

A mobility team is made up of the consumer, family and caregivers, and any professionals who have expertise to contribute to the process of choosing, maintaining, adapting, repairing, and replacing mobility equipment. The make-up of the team depends on the consumer's needs and the professionals involved in his or her care. Some of the professionals that may serve on a mobility team include:

Occupational and physical therapists work with transfers, activities of daily living (e.g., personal care, hygiene, eating, dressing, toileting), and independent mobility. Their goal is to help the consumer achieve independence in the home, school, community, and workplace. They are concerned with proper positioning so that the arms are free for functional tasks. Good positioning also prevents skin breakdown and the development of musculoskeletal abnormalities while it promotes normal body functions, e.g. respiration and digestion.

Rehabilitation engineers bring a unique knowledge of engineering principles and health sciences to their work in adapting and modifying equipment. If there are no products that meet the consumer's needs, the rehabilitation engineer can develop a customized solution.

Suppliers contribute information about available equipment, its cost, insurance reimbursement patterns for different types of equipment for people with various types of disabilities, and manufacturer policies on replacement, repair, and support.

Special education teachers see a child interacting with other children in a variety of environments for a significant amount of time each week and have insight into how a chair will be used during the child's day. The teacher contributes to the development and teaching of mobility goals that promote socialization, exploration, and play. He or she can also provide information about the school district's transportation guidelines.

Speech and language pathologists have expertise in current and future communication needs. If devices will be attached to the wheelchair, or if positioning affects respiration, swallowing, or speech production, the speech and language pathologist should be included on the team. …

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