When a very young child is showing signs of not being able to sit up or move like his peers, it is advised that you take him for assessment to child specialist or therapist as soon as possible. If your child is still needing to be carried around when most peers are moving independently, don’t wait, hoping things will improve ….early intervention will get your child on the move to start exploring and developing his abilities.
A comprehensive needs assessment will determine what mobility device is appropriate for the client. This can be tricky especially when posture support needs are complex. Assessment should be done regularly so that changing needs across each person’s lifespan and circumstances can be considered.
Assessments consider the needs of the carer and the user in different environments including the home, school and work environment.
A comprehensive assessment also helps the seating practitioner to identify the training and support needs of the user and any other referrals that need to be made to health, social or educational services.
Changes may be needed to make the living environment more accessible for the wheelchair.
Information gained from the assessment is documented to prescribe the appropriate mobility device and any accessories required.
An assessment should include:
- Basic medical background and information affecting the seating e.g. surgery, continence or pressure problems, dislocations, previous and current therapy
- Physical functioning e.g. sensation, range of movement, strength in trunk and limbs, head control, ability to balance, postural alignment. In addition, hand simulation is done to assist in the identification of optimal posture support required.
- Cognitive and communication ability of user
- Home background and lifestyle: It is important to identify the self-care, recreational, social, school or work-related activities that are most important to the user and those he/she hopes to pursue in the future.
- Accessibility in the home and neighbourhood
- Carer and other support available at home
- Access to transport (private and public)
Once the assessment is complete, the client is measured and the decision is made about type and correct size of device. There will often be some time before the device is ready for fitting but we try to keep this to a minimum.
Help is on hand for therapists unfamiliar with the ordering process from the tender. Discuss any concerns around funding of devices with your seating practitioner.