Children in Strollers or Wheelchairs
When you push your child in his stroller or wheelchair, he may not be aware of where he is going and what he is passing along the way. Consider the following:
- Let your child know before you move him into his stroller or wheelchair. You can use a touch cue, such as lifting his arms, to let him know you are going to pick him up. Using a consistent way to let him know it is time to move will help him anticipate what is going to happen.
- As you move your child into his stroller or wheelchair, involve him in the process. He can reach out and touch the seat before you sit him down, work with you using hand-under-hand or hand-over-hand techniques to fasten his seatbelt, and touch the wheel of his wheelchair to let you know he is ready to be pushed.
- As the two of you move from place to place, stop for him to see, touch, and hear landmarks that will help him recognize objects in the environment, and through them, where he is. As you push him from his bedroom to the kitchen for breakfast, stop at the doorway to the living room, where he can feel the shelf that has the toys he plays with while the family is relaxing in the room. When you go out to the car together, stop on the front porch for him to touch and listen to the wind chimes.
- As your child becomes more familiar with a route, involve him in directing where you push his stroller or wheelchair. When you stop in the living room by the shelf with his toys, wait for him to point to or verbalize about the direction of the kitchen. Try to build in opportunities for him to have some responsibility for directing where he is taken, rather than passively going along.
For more information, see Foundations of Education, Volume II, A. Koenig & C. Holbrook (Eds.)