Assist Technol. 2022 Jun 23:1-10. doi: 10.1080/10400435.2022.2084183. Online ahead of print.
METHOD: Participants included 30 children and adolescents (23 males, 13 females) with cerebral palsy and other neuromuscular diseases, aged 6-18. Data were collected and compared at baseline and after 12 weeks of home-based practice via a powered wheelchair or a simulator. Powered mobility ability was determined by the Powered Mobility Program (PMP), the Israel Ministry of Health’s Powered Mobility Proficiency Test (PM-PT) and the Assessment of Learning Powered Mobility (ALP).
RESULTS: All participants practiced for the required amount of time and both groups reported a similar user experience. Both groups achieved significant improvement following the practice period as assessed by the PMP and PM-PT assessments, with no significant differences between them. A significant improvement was found in the ALP assessment outcomes for the powered wheelchair group only.
CONCLUSIONS: This is the first study, to our knowledge, that compares two different wheelchair training methods. Simulator-based practice is an effective training option for powered mobility for children with physical disabilities aged 6-18 years old, demonstrating that it is possible to provide driving skill practice opportunities safe, controlled environments.
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