The Impact of Early Powered Mobility on Young Children’s Play and Psychosocial Skills

Jan Furumasu, BS, PT, Donita Tefft, MA, CCC-SLP, Paula Guerette, PhD


Objective evidence of the benefits of powered mobility for young children may aid clinicians in justifying a powered wheelchair recommendation to families, physicians, and insurance companies.  The current study collected outcome measures assessing language, play and psychosocial skills on 23 young children at four assistive technology centers across the country.  Measures were collected two times before receiving a powered wheelchair (at the time of recommendation and at the time of receipt of the wheelchair), and again several months after receiving a powered wheelchair.  Significant improvements were found in several social components (e.g., expressive behavior, cooperation, remaining engaged in a task, interacting with family), in quantity of motor activities, and in quality of interactive and symbolic play.  No differences were found in language skills.  This research provides additional evidence of the psychosocial and play benefits of independent powered mobility.


Pediatric powered mobility, outcomes, psychosocial development, disability


Funding for this research was provided by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR), US Department of Education, grant #H133E003001. Opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and should not be construed to represent opinions or policies of NIDRR.

Jan Furumasu
Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Hospital
7601 East Imperial Highway
Downey, CA  90242


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