It is important for a toddler to begin driving a power chair as soon as we know which body part has the most control; because it teaches them to become independent and shows them that they are capable of playing with friends. The ability of driving a power chair allows the child to run around with friends at recess and to walk back to class together. The toddler will be able to go on play dates with peers and run around in the yard with friends like any other young child. We occupational therapists and mentors are able to work on developing this skill at a young age in the hopes they will grow up being independently moving by the age of five.
If the child can understand that they are capable of moving when they need or want to, they are going to understand that they are not very different from their abled bodied peers. A significant physically disabled child will have the ability of going up in front of their class and presenting an oral report like any other student. The child will be able to join group class projects and will be able to determine where to meet by talking to their peers. The ability for a child to be mobile can also enable them to join an adaptive team sport like other children their age.
As occupational therapist and mentors we have the capability of helping our clients to grow up participating in activities as they normally would if they didn’t have disabilities. Children who develop “normally” are going to progress with normal expectations of themselves as no one has said to do otherwise; and I hope to achieve the same for my mentees. I have found that children who grow up with expectations and play sports are more successful in life. Sports are all about working with your team which means they have to communicate and compromise which is a good skill set that they will use later in their lives.
Until Next Time, Enjoy Your Children