Children gain independence with powered wheelchairs
In the early 80s, after doctors told Dan Everard that his 18 month old daughter would need an electric wheelchair, he was surprised and upset to find that a suitable chair didn't exist for very young children - so he set about making one.
As more and more people asked him to make one for them, he set up a company specialising in producing powered "wheels" that would follow a child from 18-months-old and which can also move them into a standing position. Now grown-up, his daughter, Ruth, runs the company alongside her father and helped to kickstart something of a revolution in how young kids move and behave.
Typically the NHS don't provide powered chairs for children under the age of five, and some have to wait until they're 12 to become independently mobile. Experts say the majority of development of under fives happens through exploring the world for themselves. They say children who do not get mobile before this age often are delayed and can develop an extra disability of "learned helplessness".
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Video Journalist: Kate Monaghan
01 Jul 2014
- From the section Magazine