Research: Social Skills and Early Powered Mobility

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[Source:  Assistive Technology via Your Therapy Source]


Assistive Technology published research on social skills and early powered mobility.  The participants included 23 children with physical disabilities between the ages of 18 months and 6 years of age.  Data was collected at wheelchair evaluation, wheelchair delivery, and approximately 6 months later.   The following results were seen:

  • significant increases were found in parental perceptions of positive social skills for younger children after receiving a wheelchair
  • slightly older children showed improvements in social skills before the wheelchair was received
  • no changes were found in negative social skills
  • parental ratings also indicated a significantly greater difficulty remaining engaged in tasks after receiving a wheelchair
  • a significant increase was noted in the number of mobility activities during indoor free play but no difference was seen in interaction with toys or objects
  • improvement in the qualitative level of outdoor interactive free play was reported but there was no change in verbal interactions.

Reference: Guerette P, Furumasu J, Tefft D. The positive effects of early powered mobility on children’s psychosocial and play skills. Assist Technol. 2013 Spring;25(1):39-48; quiz 49-50.

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