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Cognitive predictors of young children's readiness for powered mobility

  • Donita Tefft (a1), Paula Guerette (a1) and Jan Furumasu (a1)

Abstract

Independent mobility in early childhood has been associated with the development of various cognitive and psychosocial skills. However, children with physical disabilities are not always able to move independently and may be at risk for delays in these areas. Early provision of powered mobility can offer young children an opportunity for independent mobility. Despite this, there is little information to help determine when a young child has the cognitive skills necessary to operate a powered wheelchair safely. This current research aims to identify these skills. A cognitive assessment battery and a wheelchair mobility training and assessment program were developed. Twenty-six children with physical disabilities between the ages of 20 and 36 months were evaluated on the cognitive assessment and participated in the wheelchair training and assessment program. A stepwise regression analysis was used to determine which of the cognitive skills predicted wheelchair mobility performance. The cognitive domains of spatial relations and problem solving were found to be significant and accounted for 57% of the variance in wheelchair skills. Developmental cut-off points on these scales as they relate to wheelchair skills are presented and clinical applications are discussed.

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Corresponding author

Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center on Technology for Children with Orthopedic Disabilities, Rancho Los Amigos Medical Center, Bonita Hall, 7503 Bonita Street, Downey, California, USA. E-mail: donitatefft@ranchorep.org

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Cognitive predictors of young children's readiness for powered mobility

  • Donita Tefft (a1), Paula Guerette (a1) and Jan Furumasu (a1)

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