Pediatric Power Mobility: What Does The Research Support?
Functional, independent mobility in children with disabilities has been shown to improve cognitive and perceptual skills, reduce learned helplessness, increase confidence and increase participation with their peers in everyday activities. Early powered wheelchair mobility has demonstrated an improvement in alertness, functional use of their upper extremity , improvement in their ability to play, self-esteem and confidence. A child’s ability to drive a motorized wheelchair is not related to chronological age; rather, it is related to cognitive readiness. The energy requirements for children who are marginal ambulators and for those who self-propel a manual wheelchairs can be enormous and affect their ability to keep up with their peers. This presentation will explore the evidence and clinical reasoning for providing children with early powered wheelchair mobility
Jan is a physical therapist who has worked at Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center since 1979. She is currently an instructor level working in the Seating Center and the Center for Applied Rehabilitation Technology (CART)), evaluating seating, mobility and assistive technology needs. She is also a consultant for the Pediatric inpatient service and the Adult Spinal Injury Pressure Ulcer management service. Since 1990, she has worked on three nationally funded research projects investigating cognitive readiness for powered mobility in young children. She has published and presented extensively in areas including pediatric powered mobility, seating, mobility, gait, and patients with muscle diseases. Ms. Furumasu was the recipient of the Excellence in Clinical Teaching Award in 1994 and the Amistad, Lifetime Achievement award at Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center in 2008.