MOBILITY - How my little man gets around

triton trekkorTRITON TREKKER

When my little man was about 2 we found he was too big for the conventional pusher so we put in for a larger one to take him hopefully for the next few years. What we came up with after much research was the Triton Trekker. Because it holds a good weight up to 45kgs it was perfect. The fact that it is also great for those awkward places, like going over grassed areas and rough inhospitable paths it was perfect for our lifestyle.

Not without its downfalls
You can't get it out of the super market through conventional checkouts you need to use the disability exit due to its width. It can have a stability problem due to the three wheels. Not so long ago my daughter was pushing him and spinning him around. The pusher lost balance and fell over on it's side with him in it. With this in mind and knowing this can happen should be enough to avoid it from happening with a little caution. It is heavy to carry and put in the car, no more so then a wheelchair though. Although smaller then some when folded up you may still need to keep the larger car in which to transport it. The design doesn't allow for good posture.

Advantages
For most part I love using it. He can go just about anywhere in it, especially parks and dirt walking tracks in which you would be struggling with a conventional pusher. It is a very solid number I have been using it for a couple of years now and it still feels great to drive. My son loves the bouncing and rough handling as you go over the bumps. It is not as cumbersome or big as some mobility of this size when it is folded up (it is surprising small). It should last a child quite a bit longer then a normal pusher. I suspect my boy will be able to use it until about the age of 5 (but considering he at 4 is already the size of a 6 year old is probably not a good example). The design is similar to a hammock and although doesn't allow for good posture is fantastic for relaxation and although my boy doesn't get to sleep easily away from home he will usually eventually drop off in this one. If your into running its great for that. It runs really smoothly and doesn't much effort to keep it moving.

WHEELCHAIR

The wheelchair (basic) has finally arrived a little earlier then I was hoping. I felt a little strange about taking it on board as it seems to be an admission that my boy may never walk even though that isn't really the case. I have some reservations but I will certainly give it a good go. We don't have to give up the pusher yet so at least we can keep that and use both.

netti mini wheelchairNETTI MINI

The need has arisen now in 2004 to upgrade to a bigger, more versatile wheelchair that will also take the place of the pusher. This one will need to recline, so that he can sleep in it during the day, for naps and recovering from seizures. The unit we have chosen is a Netti Mini. Not exactly what we had hoped for due to the weight of the unit and the time it will take to disasemble it for transport, but with the use of ramps and an extremely large boot in the 4WD we'll be able to wheel it in and secure it with straps. The weight is 26kg. Unfortunately I will not be able to lift that on my own. The great thing about this wheelchair is the confort and the ability to lay right back, like a bed. After using it for a few months the issues I thought would arise have. The unit is extremely large and sometimes combersome. I worry sometime that the wheelbase doesn't provide a good base when moving over difficult objects, like curbs and alike. If I'm not careful the unit does tend to want to tip forward when I hit a bump. I think next time as his seizure activity is in so much better control we'll be inclined to go back to basics next time, getting a light weight unit that will fold easily, fitting into a normal sedan, epilepsy allowing.

BABY JOGGER: SPECIAL NEEDS 5 Junior

We have been lucky enough to obtain a new jogger for my little man, unfortunately the unit is not without it's pitfalls, but I'm impressed with it's stability, size and comfort level for my little man. This unit like his past is a 3 wheeler it is much bigger in width then the triton trekker and allows for further back height. I believe it should take him through to early adulthood. The pitfalls I mention are the difficulties in assembling and disassembling the unit. I can't see how I can assemble it without getting on my hands and knees to do so, which I don't see as being particularly safe when trying to do so at the rear of the car etc. Secondly the assembly is termperamental and if you don't align the parts exactly, you can be working on the assembly process for a considerable time. The unit is very wide which is great for stability but can make it pretty difficult for getting through the supermarket check outs. I usually have to leave through the entrance or maybe the wheelchair access check out would work.  The swivel wheels work great on both bumpy and uneven paths. The singular front wheel when in action makes for some speedy moving, but steering is almost impossible. You need to lift the front and rotate the unit to get it to turn at all. Hopefully with time we'll get used to it, I'll keep you posted. But I do hope they are making massive improvements to the new models expected to come out in 2005. One advantage of this unit is it's much lighter then the Triton Trekker.

WHEELCHAIR: OTTOBOCK START M5 COMFORT

2007 marked introduction of the Ottobock to our family. Smooth as silk to drive for the carer, with great steering and ease of use. Nice range of accessories, is light weight and although not for off road it's surprising what it can handle when the need arises and therefore unlike the Netti Mini can handle bumps quite well. We have hand breaks installed which is a bonus for taking our boy down our very steep drive way. We also opted for a neat set of mags (spoke protectors) to keep little fingers out the spokes and add to the cool factor.