Thursday, July 16, 2015

Tales from the Vault - Asher's Chair

Tales from the Vault is a feature where I bring back some of my favourite posts from the archived blog. All text from the original posts has been left completely unedited; however, where I think context is required it's been added.




It's been a while since I've shared a Tales from the Vault. It's been a while since I've blogged regularly too, now come to think of it! Anyway, I'm sharing this today because Asher got a new wheelchair today, so I thought it was fitting to reminisce about his old one. And look how cute and tiny he is?!!

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Last week we received the home base for Asher's seating system (read: pediatric wheelchair). The seat itself came as part of a (removable) stroller frame, so the home base had to be ordered separately. The stroller arrived before our trip so we were excited to arrive back and receive the base that will be used inside our house.

The idea behind this whole seating system was that it would support Asher well and allow him to be more successful at the tasks he does while sitting - namely eating and playing. The thought was that if he doesn't need to work so hard controlling his trunk, he will be able to concentrate more on using his arms.

So far, we are seeing success. It is apparent how much less effort it takes him to complete tasks. His hips and legs mostly remain in a neutral position and that is huge for him. Normally, in his high chair or play chair, the first thing he would do when exerting any effort would be to rotate his hips and bend one knee while keeping the other leg into extension. Now, most of the time, his legs hang in front of him like yours or mine would in a chair. So now the next step is to have Asher use his foot rest to his advantage. If he can firmly plant his feet, that will allow him to have even better control over his body. (As you can see in the picture below, he isn't doing that yet, but the chair has only been in use for a few days after all).


The chair has a lot of great adaptations. There are lateral supports (the grey paddles under his arm), a seat belt, a chest harness (which we only put on him when he is concentrating on something like a puzzle, otherwise he doesn't "need" the support), and bendable supports for head control (which you can see behind his head that I have bent to just lie flat because Asher has no problems supporting his head and neck, but if we take it off he won't have anything to lean back on, especially if he wants to fall asleep in stroller form).

The chair also comes with a really great table that slides on and off. We were really pleased to see that was included, as we were trying to figure out how to build a table that could raise or lower in height to go along with the chair. Thankfully that is now not an issue.


As for the base, it is hydraulic, so it can be raised and lowered easily, allowing him to be pretty low to the floor to play, or he can be high enough to sit at our table or counter. It has handles on the back for pushing him around the house, although it isn't very easy to steer on swiveling wheels.


Receiving the home base was a little bit traumatic for me. That is a wheelchair, no denying it. When it is in stroller form, the wheels, handle, and visor make it look like an actual stroller (at first glance anyway). In this form, it clearly does not. I know I will get used to it, and the important thing is that Asher loves it, referring to it as "Azho's blue chay-oh". This chair is so great for him, and for all of us in interacting with him, so it makes everyone's life easier. As always though, no one wants their baby to "need" something like this. Good thing we're all getting pretty used to adapting.

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