How a Wheelchair Can Be a Useful and Fun Parenting Tool

A wheelchair isn’t just a device to help you be mobile. As a parent with a disability, a wheelchair becomes another tool to assist you in the journey of parenthood. Using various functions of your chair can provide independence and fun for both you and your child.

Jessica's kids. The first rule in my household was to teach my children not to use my joystick unless given permission. My daughter caught on to this rule pretty quickly. She’s also more cautious and doesn’t want to get hurt. My son, on the other hand, is much more adventurous. When he was crawling, climbing and beginning to walk, I needed to park my wheelchair in another room if I wasn’t in it. He didn’t quite get “no,” and we didn’t want him to hurt anyone, especially himself.

Now that he’s older, he knows not to touch my joystick. He knows it’s Mommy’s wheelchair and he needs permission. My daughter is older, and is able to drive my chair if needed and understands all of the functions.

The tilt function on a motorized wheelchair is great for a million reasons. But for a mom with a disability, tilt is an awesome tool. Both of my children have benefited from my tilt function, making all of us just a bit more independent.

When my son was 2 years old, he became fascinated when I tilted my wheelchair back. I let him stand on my footrests and say, “up!” I slowly tilt my wheelchair as I have a firm hold on him with my knees. I never go too high, and then go down. At 2, he liked it simply for the fun of it and being with me. He also learned “up” and “down” plus how to ask questions.

Now that he is 3, he uses tilt for more functional purposes than just entertainment. For example, when he wants to get something off the table or counter, he will come and ask me to help him. He gets on, I tilt enough so he can reach the item and lower him down. It makes him happy to be able to get what he wants, and I’m happy to help him.

If my daughter is unable to reach something in the refrigerator, I can help her with the tilting function. I absolutely love to assist my children as best as I can, so things like tilt help make that a reality.

My son will use the footrest as a stool. We can work together to reach something he or I need. Sometimes it isn’t a necessity, but he wants candy from the jar or a pretzel from the container. I can also carry him on it if we need to quickly get out of a rain storm.

Another fun use of a motorized wheelchair is pulling your child on roller skates or roller blades. They can hold on to your handle bars as you drive and they’ll go gliding behind you. This definitely will up the fun level in the day!

Using your wheelchair with children makes life fun and helps you be independent with your children. They both know the do’s and don’t’s with my wheelchair, but I never want them to fear the chair. Be cautious, but use creativity!

The Mighty is asking the following: Are you a mother with a disability, disease or mental illness? What would you tell a new mother in your position? Check out our Submit a Story page for more about our submission guidelines.

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