My mom has a really cool wheelchair that she is fully dependent on. That means she has to use it all of the time. When she was being evaluated for a new chair she told them that she wanted it to go fast. This was important for her because she wanted to do dog sports! The speed is adjustable so she can go at whichever speed works the best for what she is doing. It even tells her how far she has driven in a day. She thinks this is fun to know. But when she tells me how far we’ve gone it often makes me tired. I was walking all that way while she was just rolling along! Sometimes she goes so fast that my dad and I have to tell her to slow down!
My mom always likes to be doing things and likes it best when she is in her wheelchair. Being in her chair means she can easily get around and stay busy. She is up in her wheelchair an average of fifteen hours a day! That is a long time to be sitting in one position. Her chair does some awesome things to help with changing her position. Her chair tilts and reclines and the foot pedals go up and down. This makes it so she can get in lots of different positions as needed throughout the day. She also has a soft squishy cushion to sit on and one behind her back to lean on. It seems to me that it must be very comfy!
My mom’s chair does this other cool thing where the whole seat raises up fourteen inches! She can get things that are up high since those things are way higher than I could reach. Although, there are still lots of things she can’t get even when her chair is up that high. My dad helps her when needed. He and I make a really good team when it comes to helping my mom!
My mom looks very different when she raises her chair up. I am used to looking at her when she is down low. She likes to raise up to various heights and do some training with me. It is good for me to practice when the surroundings are different or like this when my mom is in different positions. This helps me learn to generalize so I can respond to my mom no matter what is going on around me. My mom is always looking for ways to do new things with me that are creative and unusual. She tells me that it makes me more solid in my job. But for me, the things we do together are fun and just seem like the regular stuff.
Some people might think it would be hard for my mom to always be in the chair. She says the wheelchair gives her independence to get around the house easily. And also the independence to get out and go places. The one thing she tells me all of the time is that I make her days so much easier with all of the ways that I help her. She is sure that she wouldn’t be able to do as much or go as many places if I wasn’t with her. That makes me feel really important but I love my job so helping my mom seems normal and makes me happy!
Do your parents or friends let you know when you do things that they like or do you let others know when they have done nice things? My mom says it is good to be kind. When you share positive thoughts it makes everyone feel better!
There are some limitations with her wheelchair but my mom never seems to let them slow her down! One of those limitations is transportation. The chair is big and doesn’t fold. It can’t just go in a regular car. We have a van that has been specially adapted for a wheelchair. This way my mom can stay right in her chair when we go places.
The floor of the van has been lowered so that the space inside the van is tall enough for my mom and her chair. There is a ramp that folds out when the side door is opening. It folds back up when the door is closing. My mom sits up front on the passenger’s side where there is an automatic locking tie down for her chair. She likes sitting up front because that means she is right next to my dad or whoever is driving the van. This makes talking with each other easier… and like I’ve told you before, my mom likes talking!
Some people who use wheelchairs can drive with special controls that are adapted for their specific needs. But my mom isn’t able to do that. She always needs someone to drive her in our van. Besides using our van to go places my mom uses Paratransit which is a special kind of public transportation but I’ll tell you all about that another time.
Here is a video that my mom made so you could see how we get in and out of the van.
Love the blog Brenda.
Excellent blog. And this one was very helpful with the video of your special van in action. I think the kids would understand if, in a future blog, you describe wheelchair van accessible parking spaces. So many “grown-ups” don’t get how the BLUE LINES are important for access. Seeing the ramp in action will help the kids remind their families to think of others. Because we know the kids are so thoughtful and caring…maybe it will rub off on their Moms and Dads ;). Sending loving cuddles Buffy. And hugs to Mom and Dad too!!!
Thanks, Barb, for your kind words and the great suggestion! I will add it to my list of future blog ideas so that my mom and I will be sure to get it done. There are lots of times that we encounter someone parked on those blue lines so it will be good to help others learn the importance of why they need to leave those spaces clear.
Hugs and wags,