Adjusting to School in a Wheelchair

school in a wheelchair
The kids have been in school for a few weeks now, and as they bring new books, backpacks and sports gear to school, some kids may be starting school with a different addition: a wheelchair. If your child isn’t used to navigating their school in their wheelchair, their day can be frustrating. EZ-ACCESS understands that transitioning to a new area in a wheelchair can be difficult. If your child is starting school in a new wheelchair, check out these tips for making the transition easier.
Weigh transportation options
Is it more effective to drive your child to school or rely on school/public transportation? If you need assistance getting your child into a vehicle, consider our portable ramp options. If your student takes the bus, schools will often be willing to send an aid to help them gather their things at the end of the day and get them on the bus safely.
Talk to your kids about how they should respond to questions
Your child is bound to be asked questions by other kids about why they’re in a wheelchair. Explain to them that other children are just curious and they should simply respond honestly to their questions. Assure them that there’s nothing to get defensive about and they should look at their wheelchair as a way to start conversations and meet new friends.
Encourage extracurricular activities
Some children in wheelchairs feel that they simply won’t be able to participate in certain school activities. Encourage your kids to ask about anything they’re interested in and see if they can take part in an adapted way. This is a great way for them to make friends and learn skills outside of the classroom.
Prepare for accessibility difficulties
Your school may be accessible when it comes to ramps and elevators, but what about other issues your student might face? It can be hard to reach books in lockers, reach food and utensils in the lunch line, carry a backpack, fit under desks and tables, get to class on time, or find time to visit the restroom between classes. Once your child has identified some issues they face at school, talk to the administration about how to remedy those issues if possible. Talk to your child’s teachers so they’re aware of these issues or tell your child to discuss these things with their teachers.
Equip them with the right accessories
To avoid balancing objects on their laps, set your child up with wheelchair bags and packs to hold their things. See if the school will allow your child to have a set of books at school and at home so they don’t have to travel with them. This is also a great time to help your child decorate their wheelchair so it expresses any new look they’re going for this school year.
The new school year can be a breeze if you simply talk to your child about any issues they’re facing and work with the school to fix them. If your child feels welcomed by their school and knows they can openly communicate issues, they’ll be more successful. Check in with your child to make sure their school year is off to a great start.