T-Shaped Steps

Project  / Project number: CB1828  /  Status:


The challenge

The OT reported: “A child with Developmental delay and Ataxia resulting in a picture of ‘Ataxic Cerebral Palsy’ Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia, attends special school and requires supervision when mobilising, as she is unsteady on her feet. She has reduced safety awareness. She struggles to transfer into her wheelchair at the end of the school day due to its height, but finds this easier with a broad step. The step needs to be broad for her to safely turn around on, due to her unsteadiness. However, the space between the front wheels of her wheelchair is relatively narrow and as a consequence  it is difficult  to position a step close enough to the wheelchair. She would benefit from a T-shaped step, with a narrower part to position between her wheels, and a broader part for her to turn on. This would allow the step to be positioned much closer to the wheelchair.”

(The photo below shows the original step used, with an unsafe gap between the wheels.)

The solution

Two T shape steps were made (one for classroom and one for home). These were to assist a child to transfer to new wheelchair, with an area in front for foot turning movements. On testing, in the classroom, they worked for the child. (See photo.)

They are made from a very lightweight rigid thermoset insulation, (it’s a non harmful material) sandwiched between hard board, and the edges are sealed with self adhesive plastic film.

The benefit

The child can transfer safely into her wheelchair, with reduced risk of falling.

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