Yooralla clients are all smiles with Wizzybugs

Two images of a young girl, using a red wizzybug outdoors. She is wearing a blue and yellow hat, has blonde hair and is smiling in the images. The background of the image is green with trees and grass.

On March 1 we celebrate International Wheelchair Day and the positive impact wheelchairs can have on someone’s life.

At Yooralla, our Assistive Technology services support children with our ‘On the Move’ program, which provides tailored support for early powered mobility with Wizzybugs – a unique powered wheelchair for young kids.

Claire, one of our talented Physiotherapists has seen the benefits of this program, and powered mobility, firsthand.

‘On the Move’ program updates

Since 2016, our program has gone from strength to strength, supporting many children to ‘get on the move’ and learn independence with the support of a power mobility device (or Wizzybugs).

“With the pandemic and various restrictions in 2020, our allied health professionals developed telehealth skills to provide continued to support clients,” said Claire.

“This opened many pathways and we’ve now been able to expand the program to clients outside of Victoria - providing assessment, set up and ongoing support remotely.”

“In any one day we can go from being on video with a family in a remote farm in Northern Queensland, supporting a two-year-old boy with spinal muscular atrophy to keep up with his two kelpie dogs and older siblings to a backyard in Metro Melbourne, supporting a family with ideas and fun games for their five-year-old daughter to learn and develop skills in her Wizzybug.”

The next big development for the program is the delivery of four new Wizzybugs in the coming weeks! We’re very grateful to have received funding through philanthropic support for these. “This means we can give even more children and their families the opportunity to learn through independent movement,” says Claire.

Why does Yooralla’s ‘On the Move’ program have such a positive impact on our clients?

“We are one of very few services across Australia able to offer a tailored service to match the needs of the child, their family and their community supporting therapist. We can offer varying assessment options in the child’s own home or other community settings.”

There are many benefits of powered mobility. Along with increased independence and mobility, our ‘On the Move’ program can help children increase confidence and self-esteem, enhance social relationships and engage in meaningful life experiences.

When asked about changes the team see in children using Wizzybugs, Claire said “We see a lot of smiles in this job! A child’s face when they first realise they’ve moved by themselves is priceless.”

“This is where the fun starts – children can spend time exploring and “bumping” into the world. Through these experiences, I have seen great growth and development.”

“We’re lucky enough to receive lots of great video updates from our clients – families sending us videos out and about in the community or siblings playing together in the backyard.”

“A young child covered her Wizzybug in The Wiggles stickers to look like ‘the big red car’. Another child dressed up their Wizzybug as Spiderman for book week at kinder!”

What’s your favourite thing about working in ‘On the Move’ program?

“We see the positive influence it has on a child’s and family’s participation in everyday life”, says Claire.

“Our favourite part of the job is the clients and their families. We’re lucky to see the sense of accomplishment on a child’s face firsthand. We get to work with some awesome children and families!”

For more information on our Wizzybugs program, visit: https://comtec.services/wizzybugs/

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