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Old 02-20-2013, 09:14 AM   #1
lmb80129
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Special needs stroller vs upgraded stroller vs wheelchair

I apologize in advance for what might seem like a stupid question. I have a 13 year old son with cerebral palsy and we have taken him on many Disney park trips with his McClaren Major special needs stroller. But we really struggled to push him around our last trip. He can walk but we bring the stroller out of habit in addition to need all these years. He doesn't have the stamina to make it even half a day at the parks and he trips and falls frequently over curbs and other obstacles. So we feel like we need some means of transportation for him. But our dilemma is that he has mostly outgrown the McClaren stroller and hates wheelchairs. (We had to use one after surgery one year.) I don't think he would happily agree to a wheelchair at Disney World. So my stupid question - Is there a better stroller or means for us to push him around the parks? He is 5 ft 7 and 130 pounds. Or is it, as I sadly suspect, that we have to transition him to a wheelchair and it will be hard to push 130 pounds (and growing) no matter what he sits in?
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Old 02-20-2013, 10:21 AM   #2
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Have you looked into Convaid strollers? They have more of a "wheelchair" look than the Maclaren, but there are several models and at least a couple are considered "umbrella folding style strollers." I know they make them in different sizes, larger than the Maclaren will handle. Other than that, I think you are looking at a wheelchair. Your son may qualify for insurance to cover the cost as they are expensive, or I know in my area they can be found through various re-use programs (either state or agency). I believe the Lions' Club also helps families fund such purchases and CP may qualify if insurance declines.

Good luck!
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Old 02-20-2013, 10:48 AM   #3
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I love the Convaid brand. I got to test one out when I was at the wheelchair place that I go to, to get my power chair fixed. It was one of the adult models since I'm 5ft,5 inches, and 130lbs. The one I demoed was a Scout, and I loved it. It has all terrain rear wheels, and lots of positioning options. Plus, it was comfortable to sit in. I wished I could've gotten it. But, since I already have a power wheelchair. I knew that my insurance will deny paying for it.

Good luck with your search.
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Old 02-20-2013, 10:54 AM   #4
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think you may be looking at a wheelchair as well. What is about the chair does he not like, or what about the stroller does he favor more. If you can figure that out you might be able to find a chair that has some of the elements that he likes. A friend of mine was in the same boat as you and her PT was able to find her child a wheelcahir with a high back so that her child could lean back ( which is why he loved his stroller and hated the chair). As for pushing him, we have recently transitioned to a wheelchair and while my son only weighs 50lbs I have found the chair to be easier to push than his special needs stroller. THe stroller was getting heavy and was bulky. Once he got a chair that was custom for him it seems that it is easier to push and it maneuvers so much better than the stroller.
What ever happens, I hope that you will have a great trip.
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Old 02-20-2013, 11:35 AM   #5
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For your trip, you might consider looking into renting a special needs stroller from an outside company that is meant for bigger kids.

In the FAQ's section of the forum there is a list in there of providers who might have one that would work for your trip.
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Old 02-27-2013, 07:47 AM   #6
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We are also trying to find a special needs stroller for our son with autism. He is younger than your son, but we are looking for something we can use for many years. The one we really like is the Advanced Mobility Freedom Jogger. It is on sale right not on adaptivemall.com. Because I only have 7 Disboards posts, I am not able to post the link, but if you select strollers (at the top of the page) and select all-terrain, it is about halfway down the page. It is called the Baby Jogger Freedom Stroller.

It has a 200 lb weight limit and looks like a large jogging stroller. It is expensive, but it seems like it will last a long time. Additionally, you can order high back kit which will raise the height of the seat.

Good Luck!!!
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Old 02-27-2013, 12:28 PM   #7
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We use a Convaid Cruiser for my son when he needs a w/c. It has a sunshade for it, but I can't see to push with the sunshade on it.

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Old 02-27-2013, 11:07 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LizJoy View Post
We are also trying to find a special needs stroller for our son with autism. He is younger than your son, but we are looking for something we can use for many years. The one we really like is the Advanced Mobility Freedom Jogger. It is on sale right not on adaptivemall.com. Because I only have 7 Disboards posts, I am not able to post the link, but if you select strollers (at the top of the page) and select all-terrain, it is about halfway down the page. It is called the Baby Jogger Freedom Stroller.

It has a 200 lb weight limit and looks like a large jogging stroller. It is expensive, but it seems like it will last a long time. Additionally, you can order high back kit which will raise the height of the seat.

Good Luck!!!
Adaptive Mall does have a lot of nice special needs strollers and wheelchairs. Here is a link to thir full selection.
http://www.adaptivemall.com/allstrolpus.html

It is important to look at the size of the special strollers in chosing one.
The Jogging style strollers are very long - the Baby Jogger Freedom one is 66 inches long, which is about 14 inches longer than the maximum length allowed for a stroller or wheelchair. So, even if they allow it in, you will have difficulty manouvering around corners and in attractions.
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Old 02-27-2013, 11:58 PM   #9
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I was lucky to get my son's Convaid chair on Ebay! It was new too, never used even once. (It was still expensive). The color was ok too, it is bright red.

It is a Scout model, the biggest size. DS has Down Syndrome and Autism, he is now 22 years old.

The things I love: First, the seat is angled back, like a stroller. My son tends to hunch over in a wheelchair, which bothers me because then he does not look around and enjoy his surroundings. Plus he has scoliosis. Second, he can get in and out of it himself easily, and he even flips the footrests to the side to get up, and then back when he gets in. Third, those footrests stay attached when you fold up the chair, unlike a wheelchair.

The toughest thing about the chair is that is is heavy. Heavy to push, and difficult for me to lift. I really can't get it on and off the Disney busses, AND wrangle Sean at the same time. Not an issue when his Dad is with us. We usually drive, walk, monorail to parks. This is Sean at Disneyland, he is leaning forward, but that is to play with some stuff in Toon Town. He is quite comfortable. It came with the back extender from the previous owner, plus a canopy. It seems like you can't use both though, at the same time.

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Old 02-28-2013, 06:46 AM   #10
SueM in MN
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PatMcDuck View Post
I was lucky to get my son's Convaid chair on Ebay! It was new too, never used even once. (It was still expensive). The color was ok too, it is bright red.

It is a Scout model, the biggest size. DS has Down Syndrome and Autism, he is now 22 years old.

The things I love: First, the seat is angled back, like a stroller. My son tends to hunch over in a wheelchair, which bothers me because then he does not look around and enjoy his surroundings. Plus he has scoliosis. Second, he can get in and out of it himself easily, and he even flips the footrests to the side to get up, and then back when he gets in. Third, those footrests stay attached when you fold up the chair, unlike a wheelchair.

The toughest thing about the chair is that is is heavy. Heavy to push, and difficult for me to lift. I really can't get it on and off the Disney busses, AND wrangle Sean at the same time. Not an issue when his Dad is with us. We usually drive, walk, monorail to parks. This is Sean at Disneyland, he is leaning forward, but that is to play with some stuff in Toon Town. He is quite comfortable. It came with the back extender from the previous owner, plus a canopy. It seems like you can't use both though, at the same time.

that was quite an eBay find
Your picture is small, so I can't be sure, but it looks like your son's chair has the same red loops attached to it as the ones in the picture that lovethattink posted.
Those red loops are transport tiedown loops. The tiedown straps on the buses have a large metal hook on them, which would be hooked onto the loops to secure it on a bus. If it has those loops and was tied down, your son could ride in it on the bus. He would also need the bus seatbelt.

Even though the loops are bolted on, they are attached for that purpose by the manufacturer, so are meant for and safe for transport.
If you have the original owner's manual, it should explain how they are used. If you don't have one, you should be able to find one online.

And - most wheelchair footrests do fold with the wheelchair and don't need to be removed. Most have footplates that flip up for folding the chair.
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Old 02-28-2013, 07:43 AM   #11
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Here's a link to the Scout owner's manual
http://www.convaid.com/documents/User'sGuide_Scout.pdf

The information about transport is on pages 17 and 18. You do need to use the back extender for transport to provide support /protection for the neck.

And this page from the Convaid site has more information and a link to a brochure ith good pictures.
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Old 02-28-2013, 09:14 AM   #12
lmb80129
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Thank you everyone for your suggestions!!! I really appreciate all the advice and shared experiences! I am thinking a Convaid wheelchair that looks like a stroller is the way to go. I think we might can get away with the Convaid Metro or maybe the Classic. The Metro is quite a bit less expensive. Do the pneumatic tires make it easier to push? Anyone have a Convaid Metro that they love? Thanks again!
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Old 02-28-2013, 10:11 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lmb80129 View Post
Thank you everyone for your suggestions!!! I really appreciate all the advice and shared experiences! I am thinking a Convaid wheelchair that looks like a stroller is the way to go. I think we might can get away with the Convaid Metro or maybe the Classic. The Metro is quite a bit less expensive. Do the pneumatic tires make it easier to push? Anyone have a Convaid Metro that they love? Thanks again!
We have the Cruiser and not the Metro, but yes, the large, pneumatic tires make a world of difference when pushing it.
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Old 02-28-2013, 01:34 PM   #14
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We have a Cruiser with a stroller handle. I really like it. You should definately check with your doctor about getting it covered by insurance. It does have the thicker tires which makes a big difference. 130 pounds is definately to heavy for the Major. You definately are not going to want to use that at disney. You may be able to rent a Convaid somewhere.
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Old 02-28-2013, 08:03 PM   #15
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Have you ever used a seating clinic? Colorado Children's Hospital appears to have a seating clinic. I had never used one for my daughter until we moved, and had new people on her team. We were referred to the clinic (we knew we'd be getting another chair, she's non-ambulatory), and it was great. They have all sorts of options there for you to try out if you want to. If you have ideas of things you'd like to try you let them know before hand and the vendor will likely be able to bring a demo (convaid, different models etc). The clinic we use has literally dozens of wheelchairs in all shapes and sizes and configurations. Maybe if your son were able to sit in many different chairs and strollers he'd be able to help decide what he likes? I am really thinking this because maybe if he were to sit in a really comfy custom wheelchair, with proper supports and such, he might see that it's preferable to a stroller type chair. Insurance should cover whatever he needs. We went the stroller route, and have one now for emergencies, if something were to happen to he wheelchair, but the wheelchair is so, so much easier to push and maneuver. And if he still doesn't like the wheelchairs you could get a chance to see and try out a few different stroller type options.
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