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Power Chair—Get the G-Team Van

July 02, 2010 by Victoria Strong
The power chair is being ordered!!! Hazzah! After almost a year of preparation, trial and error, Jerry-rigging, tweaking, and lots of practice, practice, and more practice, we have found a system that works for Gwendolyn and she is ready to hit the road.

Gwendolyn's disabilities are such that we can't simply go into the wheelchair store and point, "I'll take that one." She is stronger than many with SMA in that she now tolerates sitting up and she can move her hands. But she is weaker than most folks in power chairs, including those with SMA, in that she doesn't have much arm strength and so figuring out a joystick has proved the big challenge. But, thanks to our team of fabulous, creative, inventive, and determined therapists at CCS, we now have a really great system that allows Gwendolyn to move on her own!

We are using infrared technology -- yes, we are space age around here. The great thing about infrared is this requires NO pressure to make it work. So no strength to move a joy stick. Gwendolyn uses her middle and index fingers to simply hover over the infrared light which then senses her and, depending on which hand, goes forward or right. Our clever little girl completely understood the concept within minutes and was so excited to play Duck, Duck Goose to prove it.

Once we discovered this awesome technology the challenge transitioned to arm support and how to keep her arms positioned so she can continually move her fingers and successfully control the chair. This didn't take quite as long, but it did take lots of creativity on the part of our awesome therapists, Jane and Christie. (You guys ROCK!) She now uses a tray with the infrared beam attached to side panels and her arms are supported to keep them in place.

And so now the ordering will begin...and this could prove an equally difficult challenge depending on how nice our insurance company will be. Thankfully, Jane and Christie have experience with this process. And, yes, each individual item has to have a formal justification -- as in seat, foot rests, head support, tray, infrared, yada, yada, yada. But, I am optimistic that the majority of what we want will be accepted (positive thinking!). And so, in addition to the awesome power chair news, this means we also need to begin the process of replacing the G-Van with the G-Team Van -- a big guy version with an automatic lift. (And we will definitely need a theme song and a wind machine to go with this.)

The big news -- Gwendolyn selected SILVER! We were shocked, certain "Pop Star Pink" was the one. But, N.O...Silver is what she has in mind and we think she will be gorgeous in it!

Video and more pictures to follow...

Talk About It

This is very exciting news!! Congrats and I can't wait to see the G-van!
Posted by Cherisse on 2010-07-02 07:43:11
This is wonderful. I can't get over Gwendolyn selecting the silver color. Oh well, the girl knows what she wants. For sure! Look forward to more pix of Gee in her new 'power chair'.
Posted by Auntie Weez on 2010-07-02 08:05:37
Oh wow! How exciting! She is such a big girl! I can't wait to see video of her zipping around! Good luck with it all!
Posted by Sam on 2010-07-02 09:30:58
Very excited for you Miss G!!And I love you color choice... silver is regal,much like a princess,which you certainly are! We are off to Carpenteria again today ... will be blowing kisses to you in the wind.Look for them.
Posted by Zoey's mom on 2010-07-02 09:38:48
Woo Hoo!! Watch out world, Gwendolyn is taking over the streets. Can't wait to see the video of Gewndolyn 'rolling out' with her song and wind machine.
Posted by Jennifer on 2010-07-02 10:08:45
Can't wait to see her moving around! It will be a whole new world!
Posted by Kristen on 2010-07-02 11:13:56
So cool!!!! Jacob wants to know how she makes the chair go straight and is standing looking over my shoulder talking about accelerometers.... HUH???? Can't wait to see the video!
Posted by Margaret on 2010-07-02 14:11:28
This is so exciting! Congratulations you guys!
Posted by Christy Golden on 2010-07-02 14:37:07
So exciting! Can't wait to see pics and videos of Gwendolyn moving around in her stylish new chair! Fingers crossed that insurance comes through!
Posted by Legally Fabulous on 2010-07-02 17:26:13
YEAHHHHHH!!!!!!!! I love that she will have the freedome to "Walk" around with everyone else!!!
Posted by Kimberlee Walker on 2010-07-02 17:42:02
Wow! Way to go Gwendolyn. Can't wait for the videos.
Posted by Jhari on 2010-07-02 19:15:06
Unbelievable!! She is brilliant! (as well as a girl who know her own mind - silver is, by far, the best color ever!) ). I've been worried because we hadn't heard much lately about the Power Chair - I should have know it was all in the works. Can't WAIT to see the video!
Posted by Sheri on 2010-07-02 19:55:12
Wonderful news!! How exciting for Gwendolyn to get her chair. I can't wait to see the videos of her racing around the neighborhood and all over town. --Mari
Posted by Mari aka "Thorney" on 2010-07-02 19:55:51
Amazing! Im so happy Gwendolyn will be able to move around by herself! Can't wait to see the videos!
Posted by Jen on 2010-07-04 13:26:43
that is so fantastic! I can only imagine how much more she will be able to see and do in her new wheels! Way to go!! Looking forward to seeing some videos! So happy for you miss G! smile
Posted by Lisa Prokopetz on 2010-07-07 21:33:06
that infared thing is really cool. I hope she catches on quick. We still struggle with the whole concept of moving in the chair. Riley would loves to just sit in it and play with toys on his tray, or go in circles. silly boy
Posted by Becah Ogden on 2010-07-28 03:46:47

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