For children who have multiple, complex disabilities, learning to use a powered mobility device provides more than just locomotion. Our work suggests that the experience of self-produced movement in a powered mobility device enhances development in these children by providing opportunities to explore tool-use learning and interact with their surrounding environment.
Our current grounded theory study explores “what goes on in” processed-based assessment and intervention within the provision of powered mobility experiences for early learners, including children with multiple, complex disabilities.
Powered mobility use involves a tool to activate the device (switch, joystick) and a mobility tool (the actual powered mobility device). Together, these tools allow children with multiple, complex disabilities to discover self-produced mobility. In this way, tool-use learning in powered mobility devices provides opportunities to develop a sense of self, to explore and become aware of cause/effect, and to develop an awareness of relationships between self and device, self and others, and space and time. Such experiences change how these children perceive themselves as doers, how they relate to their environment, and how they approach and use new tools with curiosity and exploratory behavior (i.e., using switches to make choices, etc.).
Individualized process-based power mobility assessment and intervention supports a growing awareness of environmental relationships in children with multiple, complex disabilities. This self-produced mobility further allows these children to recognize people and objects beyond their immediate surroundings, providing a foundation for future goal directed, tool-use activity and communication.
Such experiences change how these children perceive themselves as doers, how they relate to their environment, and how they approach and use new tools with curiosity and exploratory behavior (i.e., using switches to make choices, etc.).