Just for Kids
New in School: Part of the challenge for families with children who use mobility equipment is helping classmates and peers to understand the “whys” and “whats” while encouraging inclusion.
The Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation (christopherreeve.org, search words “children’s books”) has a list of age-appropriate fiction and non-fiction books and videos to get conversations started among children and teens. The list also includes books in which the wheelchair user is a sibling or parent. Books can be borrowed from the Foundation’s library.
Advanced Students: For kids at Halloween, their wheelchairs aren’t just mobility devices. They can be platforms for costumes that are the envy of the neighborhood. Creative and talented families have built costumes resembling everything from John Deere tractors to the Frozen sleigh that Anna and Kristoff ride in. Check out our Pinterest (“Wheelchair Halloween Costumes”) for ideas. United Cerebral Palsy’s Facebook post (facebook.com/unitedcerebralpalsy) on Oct. 31, 2014, shows the top vote-getters in last year’s costume contest — Dorothy in the Emerald City took top prize.
If you have a school-aged child who uses a wheelchair, a University of Vermont resource called, “Assisting Students Who Use Wheelchairs: Guidelines for School Personnel” could kick off some great conversations between you and the teachers, aides, school bus drivers and other adults who interact with your child every day. A large portion of the guide is dedicated to safe and efficient transfers in and out of a wheelchair. Another critical portion of the guidebook focuses on defining a wheelchair as the child’s mobility.
“Pushing a student’s wheelchair without permission is like rudely shoving a student who can walk,” the book says. “Turning off a student’s power wheelchair to prevent the student from moving about is inappropriate. It is like tying a student who walks in a stationary chair.” Well said. The guide can be downloaded as a pdf at uvm.edu/~cdci/archives/mgiangre/QG3ExtraWC141-154.pdf.