A workable space

If you have a child with impaired mobility, you’ll want to ensure that their environment suits their needs – to help them not only to learn but to thrive, writes ASTRID DE LA REY

One of the biggest concerns for parents who have a child with impaired mobility is that they don’t want their child to feel like they’re missing out. Ensuring your child’s environment caters to their needs will make a huge difference and make certain tasks easier for them as well as their caregivers.

In the last few years there have been some amazing advances in adaptive furniture. One example is Willowbrook Riser Recliners, which manufactures recliners with a “standing” function. The chair operates like a standard recliner, but with an extra feature that tilts the recliner forward to assist with standing up or getting out of the chair. It is completely automated and adjustable, and can be configured to suit different needs. The recliners are also available in different sizes in order to suit children as well as adults.

Google is magic, which is how we came across the Adaptive Design Association that designs and builds furniture and aids around the specific requirements of each individual child. Although they’re based in the US, the organisation makes all of their designs available so that anyone can copy and adapt them. There are some brilliant ideas and examples on their website and they encourage anyone to contact them for advice and suggestions. Well worth checking out.

Another great product is the AirDesk, which was developed as a completely adjustable mobile office that can be adapted to almost any position. It’s designed for use in beds, on the couch, in cars and even at the gym! It’s a simple, ingenious product that allows for all kinds of configurations and can even double as a tray stand or writing surface.

Classroom positioner chairs can often be pricey, but they are extremely handy for use at home as well as at school. The chair is fully mobile and can be adjusted for various activities. Do a little online research, as there are quite a few options to choose from.

Another favourite with many parents is the Art Horse – a fairly simple furniture piece that lets your child draw and play while leaning slightly forward as though they’re sitting on a rocking horse. The chair is specifically designed for children who need to strengthen their core muscles.

There are some fantastic products available for children with impaired mobility. So shop around, talk to other parents and find the right solutions that will help your child flourish in their adaptive environment.

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