Thursday, March 5, 2009

On the hunt for a cool set of wheels

Before A1 starts preschool next year we need to get some equipment - namely a wheelchair and a walking frame. So yesterday I went to the IRSA Daily Living Expo to check out what is available. I guess like most other people there I would have never expected to be out shopping for a wheelchair - especially for one of my children - but there we were.

I went with all 3 of the kids. E & A2 had a ball trying out all the wheelchairs and collecting as many freebies as possible. I also overhead E asking some of the grown ups why they were in wheelchairs - I'm not sure what the etiquette is there....should I shush her? She was just being curious (like the time she demanded to know "Excuse me, I'm talking to you - why have you got that skin" from a rather bewildered little boy who happened to be from Sudan). We get asked questions about A1 all the time....I'd rather people were just open and asked questions instead of avoiding us (which lets face it does happen at times) so I let my kids ask questions. I hope no one was offended. I guess in time they will get sick of people asking about A1 and will learn to stop asking too.

Anyway, we looked at quite a few chairs and can I say that even after seeing all those chairs I still have NO IDEA about what is the best option for her. All I have worked out so far is that we need a fully customised one...but which one? If anyone has any tips on choosing a wheelchair please leave me a comment!

After I got used to the idea that A1 would need a wheelchair (actually truth be told I'm still not really used to the idea), I pictured her in a 'regular' looking wheelchair. Not one of those "really disabled looking ones". Surely not my baby in one of those? Not that there is anything wrong with the "really disabled looking ones" - I don' t want to offend anyone - it is just very confronting as a parent to realise that your child needs a wheelchair. And it is going to be confronting going out in public in it to begin with. Its weird - because I am not AT ALL embarrassed or ashamed of her...I think it is the "oh you poor things" looks that I hate. I'm sure all you people in the disability world know the ones I mean...I am not a "poor thing" - I am blessed beyond belief by ALL of my children.

Anyway, I fear that I am rambling so I will end this post. Feel free to leave advice about choosing equipment. We are trialling a walker over the weekend - I will post pics of A1 in it. I am also considering getting her this trike for her birthday - its not perfect but I thought it might be a fun way for her to play in the backyard with her sisters.


Big brother, Little sister. said...

Alison, I understand completely the confrontational nature of equipment! The good thing is by the time the funding comes through etc you are use to the idea! lol I am also thinking about wheelchairs but not sure when and what. That bike looks great! The edging wil no doubt help ease your mind as she burns around the backyard with the sisters!

n0thingbuteverything said...

Ah yes, equipment. SIGH! We're off to the Wheelchair Clinic at RCH next week. If you'd told me 4 years ago that's where we'd be heading I would have been devastated, but actually, I'm just really looking forward to getting him a set of wheels that are not a pram. I hate it when he gets called a 'baby'.

As for the questions, bring them on I say!!! I find nothing worse than hearing a child being 'shushed' for showing curiosity about BC out in his walker. ;-). I love the q about the skin. Too cute!