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Children gain independence with powered wheelchairs

27 June 2014 Last updated at 01:33 BST

In the early 1980s, doctors told David 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 in Cambridge 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 children move and behave.

Typically the NHS does not provide powered chairs for children under the age of five, and some have to wait until they are 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".

Video Journalist: Kate Monaghan

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