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Home >> Equipment List >> Wheelchair

Wheelchair

A wheelchair is a wheeled mobility device in which the user sits. The device is propelled either manually (by turning the wheels by the hand) or via various automated systems. Wheelchairs are used by people for whom walking is difficult or impossible due to illness (physiological or physical), injury, or disability. People with both sitting and walking disability often need to use a wheelbench.

The earliest record of wheelchairs date back to the 6th century, and was found inscribed on a stone slate in China. Later dates relate to Europeans using this technology, dating back to the German Renaissance. Harry Jennings, a mechanical engineer, invented the first lightweight, steel, collapsible wheelchair in 1933, together with his disabled friend and fellow engineer, Herbert Everest, who had broken his back in a mining accident. The two saw the business potential of the invention, and went on to become the first mass-manufacturers of wheelchairs: Everest and Jennings. Their "x-brace" design, albeit with updated materials and other improvements, is still in common use, over 70 years later.


Today's wheelchairs have special gadgets to make life easier for the person operating them, and many even use computer technology. Modern wheelchairs take into account the need for back, neck, head, and leg support, and a kid's growing bones. They also include safety features such as automatic brakes and anti-tipping devices.

Power wheelchairs have many advantages for kids who need them. Electronic controllers can help a kid who uses a wheelchair drive smoothly, brake easily, and make the wheelchair move with the touch of a hand! Some hand controllers look like a joystick used to play a video game and are easy to operate. But for a person who relies on a wheelchair, getting around by himself is not a game. It's an important part of being independent.

Kids may need wheelchairs for many different reasons. Some have had injuries that interfere with their ability to walk. Others have disabilities due to medical conditions such as muscular dystrophy or cerebral palsy, and they need a wheelchair to help them get around. Some children are missing legs and may not be good candidates for artificial limbs. In some cases, kids have wheelchairs but don't need to use them all the time. For example, they might be able to walk with the aid of crutches or a walker sometimes.

 

 
 

 

 

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