Wheelchairs, seating and other equipment

  • During the early ambulatory stage, a scooter, stroller or wheelchair may be used for long distances to conserve strength. When your son starts using a wheelchair for longer periods, it becomes more important that posture is carefully looked at, and customisation of the chair is usually necessary.
  • As difficulty with walking increases, it is recommended that a power wheelchair is provided sooner rather than later. Ideally, the initial power wheelchair should be adapted and customised to optimise comfort, posture and symmetry. Some experts also recommend a power standing feature if available.
  • With time, arm strength becomes more of an issue. Physiotherapists and occupational therapists will be helpful in recommending assistive devices to help maintain independence. It is best to think proactively about the kind of equipment that will best support independence and participation and plan ahead to provide it in as timely a manner as possible.
  • Additional adaptations in the late ambulatory and non-ambulatory stages may be needed to help with getting upstairs and transferring, eating and drinking, turning in bed and bathing.

Information based on consensus statement (published in January 2010)