Enabling children who use wheelchairs to participate: What's the evidence?

Jackie/J Casey, Rachael/R McDonald, Suzanne/S Martin, Laura/L McKeown

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


Jackie Casey1, Dr Rachael McDonald2, Prof Suzanne Martin1, and Dr Laura McKeown11 School of Occupational Therapy, Institute if Nursing and Health Research, Ulster University, N.Ireland. j.casey2@ulster.ac.uk s.martin@ulster.ac.uk lp.mckeown@ulster.ac.uk2 CDDHV, Department of Occupational Therapy, Centre for Development Disability Health Victoria, Notting Hill, Australia rachael.mcdonald@monash.edu Background:With increasing numbers of children who use wheelchairs, advancements in technology and finite resources, it is vital that as prescribing occupational therapists we evidence the effectiveness of wheelchair provision. With the implementation of the WHO (2007) ICF-CY wheelchairs can be used to address the complex needs of children, specifically body structures and functions (mobility impairment), activity and participation across a range of environmental contexts. Method:This paper presents the results of a Cochrane systematic literature review investigating the evidence that wheelchair provision facilitates children's participation. Results:Despite a significant volume of research exploring the use of wheelchairs the primary focus has been on design, efficient propulsion, wheelchair skills training programmes, and readiness to drive. Little research has focused on functional outcomes for these children. This Cochrane review found one eligible study by Jones et al. (2012) with promising results that powered wheelchairs can facilitate the development, participation and performance of children as young as 14 months. No evidence was found on whether manual wheelchairs promote child participation. Conclusion:Currently it appears that wheelchairs are still primarily provided to compensate for mobility limitations. This review highlights that there is a need for greater clinical emphasis focusing on wheelchairs as a potential enabler, facilitating children's development, participation and performance in everyday activities at home, school and in the community. Application to Practice:Further, more research employing robust methodologies with randomisation is needed to help develop an evidence base for the provision of wheelchairs to children. single; justified. You can add (coloured) graphics, charts, diagrams. References Jones MA, McEwen IR and Neas BR. 2012. Effects of power wheelchairs on the development andfunction of young children with severe motor impairments. Pediatric Physical Therapy, 24, 131-140. World Health Organization. 2007. International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health - Child and Youth version (ICF-CY). Geneva. Financial support by the Northern Ireland Research & Development Office for DHSS is gratefully acknowledged.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationUnknown Host Publication
Number of pages1
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 12 Feb 2016
EventCOTEC-ENOTHE Congress - Galway Ireland
Duration: 12 Feb 2016 → …


ConferenceCOTEC-ENOTHE Congress
Period12/02/16 → …


  • Wheelchairs
  • children
  • participation
  • evidence
  • Cochrane Review


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