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Wheelchair Power Mobility Assessment: Determining Readiness

presented by Michelle L. Lange, OTR/L, ABDA, ATP/SMS

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Disclosure Statement:

Financial: Michelle Lange is consultant for Stealth Products which is manufacturer of wheelchair seating and mobility, LUCI- manufacturer of smart wheelchair technology and AbleNet – manufacturer of switches. Michelle Lange receives compensation from MedBridge for this course. There is no financial interest beyond the production of this course.

Non-Financial: Michelle Lange has no competing non-financial interests or relationships with regard to the content presented in this course.

Satisfactory completion requirements: All disciplines must complete learning assessments to be awarded credit, no minimum score required unless otherwise specified within the course.

MedBridge is committed to accessibility for all of our subscribers. If you are in need of a disability-related accommodation, please contact [email protected]. We will process requests for reasonable accommodation and will provide reasonable accommodations where appropriate, in a prompt and efficient manner.

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Video Runtime: 58 Minutes; Learning Assessment Time: 29 Minutes

How do we know a child is ready for a power wheelchair? When is this appropriate, is the child too young, and will there be negative implications to starting power? These are all valid concerns, and yet many children do not receive a power mobility device as soon as clinically indicated. Research has shown that early mobility is critical to development. Clinicians need to be familiar with current research and be able to determine readiness and train a child to use a power mobility device or power wheelchair. This course is particularly applicable to pediatric therapists.

Current research does demonstrate significant and broad developmental benefits of early mobility. Despite this research, many potential barriers to power mobility provision continue. Determining both motor and cognitive readiness for power mobility is critical before moving forward with a formal assessment. Pre-assessment strategies using a manual mobility base, such as an adaptive stroller or manual wheelchair, can be used to determine and develop readiness to successfully use a power mobility device.

Meet Your Instructor

Michelle L. Lange, OTR/L, ABDA, ATP/SMS

Michelle is an occupational therapist with 35 years of experience and has been in private practice, Access to Independence, for over 15 years. She is a well-respected lecturer, both nationally and internationally, and has authored numerous texts, chapters, and articles. She is the coeditor of Seating and Wheeled Mobility: A Clinical Resource Guide; editor of…

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Chapters & Learning Objectives

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1. Is Independent Mobility That Important?

This chapter will present the goals of determining if a child is ready for a power mobility device. Current and relevant research demonstrating the developmental benefits of early mobility will be reviewed. Finally, barriers to power mobility provision will be discussed.

2. Motor Criteria

This chapter will present strategies for determining a child’s motor readiness to use a joystick, including motor requirements for this task. Strategies for determining motor readiness to use switches for driving a power mobility device will also be addressed.

3. Cognitive Criteria

Power mobility use requires specific mobility concepts, including cause and effect, stop and go, directional concepts, problem-solving, and judgment. This chapter will present definitions and examples of each of these cognitive criteria.

4. Pre-Assessment

This chapter will review strategies to simulate power mobility using a manual mobility base to determine and develop readiness for a power mobility device. A case study will be used to illustrate this technique.

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