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Pediatric Physical Therapy:
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Parent/Caregiver Perspectives on the Use of Power Wheelchairs.

Berry, Emily T. MS, PT; McLaurin, Sue E. MEd, PT; Sparling, Joyce W. PhD, PT, OT

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Abstract

The costs and benefits of assistive technology are increasingly being scrutinized by funding sources. The purpose of this study was to examine the use of power wheelchairs by children with developmental disabilities. Thirty-six caregivers of children using power chairs were interviewed to determine frequency of use and caregiver perceptions regarding power chairs. The chairs were used by 57% of the children both at school and home, and by another 35% primarily at school, whereas 9% seldom used their power chair. Chair use was influenced by the concepts of independence and accessibility. Children who were otherwise completely dependent on their caregivers gained the freedom to move themselves. However, environmental limitations may have resulted in less use of the chairs. The importance of incorporating the viewpoints of caregivers during the prescription and follow-up process was also illuminated. This information may be valuable for maximizing the use of power chairs among children and their families.

(C) Williams & Wilkins 1996. All Rights Reserved.

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