When your child is young and has a physical disability, you think nothing of lifting him/her anywhere, you’re happy to do it. It means a lot of bending your back at bath time, fun time, moving into and out of the car etc. and we take it all for granted. We don’t mind as long as the child is happy and doing a lot of things other children are doing.
Then comes along a wheelchair and or walker depending on the child and we are grateful that these aids are available to us and that they are fitted comfortably to support your child. When I look for the correct type of wheelchair I always want the best for David to suit him perfectly in posture and ongoing support. This is also taken into account the amount of time David spends in the wheelchair whether he needs a manual wheelchair, a power pack attached or an electronic wheelchair or sometimes both.
When David is out with me I push him around in his manual wheelchair as my car cannot take the size or weight of an electronic wheelchair. David has had a manual wheelchair since about the age of 4.
Now many years later as David is 23, there is a lot of little things I would say to myself if I could go back in time. One of the first things I would do is get advice for myself and not just David. What is the correct way to lift David, manoeuvre him, shower him, lift his wheelchair into the car and I would train everyone in the house so we all would know.
I would also ask for home help and respite before I need it. I was one of those parents who felt embarrassed to ask for any assistance when it came to David as I could do it all. But now looking back I can recall all those little things I did with David has over time accumulated into significant back issues for me today. I even feel selfish for saying this but the real reason I am writing this article is to encourage all parents to take their long term health serious and not to end up in pain management clinics like me when they are older.
If I won the lottery tomorrow I would set up loads of free course for parents and children with additional needs. One of the courses would be to help parents and siblings with the correct method of lifting and supporting their child correctly for both parties. As well as other courses to help the family as a whole.
Please, again I ask you if you are that younger mother or father then think about your long term health. Don’t be shy and go out and get the help you need for your child but also for yourself. It is not selfish but will help you keep yourself in the right physical and mental state to support your child for many more years.