Assessment and training of children for powered mobility in the UK

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This paper will review procedures for assessing children for powered wheelchairs in the UK, and explore how they might be developed and improved. In many parts of the UK, procedures for assessing children for supply of a powered wheelchair are perfunctory. It will be argued that many children are unfairly rejected, and that they simply require practice and training in order to learn control over a powered wheelchair. Therefore, we suggest that assessment procedures should be developed to include loan of wheelchairs for extended assessment and training. A common argument against such provision is the increase in cost of assessment and supply. However, given the importance of independent mobility in children’s development, and the use of powered mobility to provide such independent mobility, these costs are acceptable given the improvements in childrens’ quality of life. Procedures for assessing and prescribing powered wheelchairs within and outwith the NHS will be discussed, and examples from schemes to trial and loan powered wheelchairs will be used to illustrate the need for extended assessment and loans for training. Practices in the provision of other types of assistive technology, particularly AAC (alternative and augmentative communication) devices will be described and compared with powered wheelchair provision.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)173-182
Number of pages10
JournalTechnology and Disability
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2002

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