View Full Version : Special Needs Child
12-04-2010, 02:00 AM
My wife and I have been Fostering a baby since birth, he is now 11 months old and we are trying to adopt him. He was born drug addicted and has brain damage because of this stupid mother's decision to use drugs while pregnant. He also has cerebral palsy because of this. He will likely need a wheel chair as he gets older, what vehicle is best suited for this (wheel chair capable) and expo travel? Thanks. We are wanting to give him every opportunity to have the best possible life he can have and love him dearly.
12-04-2010, 03:34 AM
I have talked to a number of families with special needs kids and it all centers around a few key points....
What do YOU like to do?
Are you & your wife day trip people that like hotels at night?
Are you backpackers that go with min gear?
Where do you like to go? You are based in Ohio but is that where you like to get outdoors?
Having CP isn't a deal breaker and neither is using a chair.
He is young enough and you have enough prep time to start training his and yourselves.
Here are my suggestions while I wait to hear more from you.
If you aren't part of United CP then check them out and look for a local support group
Just like anyone with a small kid you have to work things up and build a tolerance for you guys and Jr.
Once we hear more from you then we can start talking vehicles....since he isn't driving YET you have plenty of choices.
12-05-2010, 02:08 AM
Thanks for the link, my wife and I will be looking into this for sure. At this point, we have a pull behind travel trailer and like to travel all over. I would say more day trips, but no to hotels, we like to camp. Looking towards the future, as he gets older, if he is still in a wheel chair, a vehicle that can be wheel chair accessible and tow a camper would be what we are looking for. I'm guessing maybe a van??
12-05-2010, 03:02 AM
well honestly it does NOT have to be a van...
it is just that a van is so EASY to make accessible.
You have some advantages since he is young/light weight and isn't driving.
The travel trailer also means you can setup a base camp and then day trip away from that in your tow rig.
Here are some "off the top of my head" choices ranging from simple to more complex.
4wd van...super simple, plain & easy
It can either be a full size or midsize or even the older toyotas
4wd extended cab truck with 60% of back seat removed for chair storage. There are some cool arms that will come out & lift the chair after you have placed your son in a child seat. I say extended cab over crew cab as you can open both doors and really access the interior.
If you don't want to use up the inside space for the chair then look at the Bruno shell that lifts up out of the way and an arm that brings the chair up into the bed.
4wd ambulance...yeah that is right, just add some more windows and you are good to go
I know I am not giving you a link to just one perfect rig, and that is because this is a process that needs to be explored.
And of course budget is an issue we haven't really touched on.
12-06-2010, 03:24 PM
I have been wheelchair user since I was very young. My dad took me all over the Colorado mountains in a two wheel drive Chevy full size pick-up. I think the best thing is to help teach your kiddo to be as independent as possible with transfers so he can get into the vehicle and you can toss the wheelchair wherever it fits. If he has to use a power chair when he gets older this will be more difficult. There are several types of lifts to place the chair in the back of trucks or the wheelchair lift in a van like Lancesí WAVE ( I drove it, it is awesome!)
I currently work with special needs kids in the public schools. Like all kids, they love to be outside. I think the disabled kids enjoy it more; maybe they donít get the opportunity to get out as much as the other kids. It is greet that you are going to take on this responsibility, more people should. Take him out as much as you can, it may take a while to figure out what works best for you but the learning will be an adventure. It will change as you and your kid grow together, so try to get a vehicle that is adaptable for future needs.
Another piece of advice, get him involved with your local preschools as soon as possible. They should have early intervention programs in place for young children with disabilities. Starting early is the key to seeing great gains in the abilities of kids with disabilities.
Good luck and have fun!
12-06-2010, 06:15 PM
Having done multi-day trips with Bill I can so you are getting advice from the best right there...
He put my 1 legged butt to shame, and watching him use an ax from a wheelchair was impressive :)
Keep us posted, this will be an ever changing adventure and others will want to learn from you
12-06-2010, 06:27 PM
For on reason or another, a lot of people switch vehicles every 3-4 years. You say he's 11 months. I would buy something that works for your situtation now, and look for something else in a few years. Escpecially if it is your primary vehicle and you rack a lot of miles.
12-16-2010, 04:32 AM
Thank you all for the replies, I truly appreciate it. I completely agree that he needs to learn to be independent very early, and we all want to include him in our travels, so I will definitely take everyone's advice and just keep looking towards the future. I know he will do well!
12-16-2010, 07:36 PM
When he gets to the size of using a wheelchair get in touch with me through www..disabledexplorers.org and we will get you guys out in the van as a way to start thinking about what you need. Or if you to go before then let me know.
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