Well, I have STRONGLY believed since I first met Jon in Haiti in 2008 that with proper therapy, practice & encouragement, Jon could drive a power wheelchair. HOWEVER, our insurance company and some of our (previous) therapists had doubts.
I had no doubts. I knew Jon had never moved beyond creeping 2-3 feet on the floor and that took over an hour. I KNEW Jon needed independent motion. He needed to get to his location without waiting for us to guess and offer to move him.
So with our new amazing home health aid for Jon, I knew it was time. I had the therapists that I needed AND I resized an old power chair, private paid for a few improvements AND we put Jon in it.
Yesterday he really didn't even want to sit in his new chair. We pushed the chair manually AND only turned it on to show him the horn AND he still cried easily when he was not distracted with a movie or bubbles.
Today he wanted in the new power wheelchair this morning. Amber took him on his usual tour of the neighborhood and she egaged the chair, dared to turn it on and drove the chair slowly around the neighborhood. Then she showed him that he could push the button himself...at first he was scared! Then within 30 minutes he was able to chase Matt with minimal assistance. Jon was thrilled, but was soon very tired from all the thinking! He could make shallow turns and go forward by the time the therapist arrived around noon.
Just think, this day was the equivalent of any other child rolling, crawling & taking first steps...rolled into one BIG day! Jon had never had to think about his body in relation to others. He has never had to consider if it was a space he could fit through or if it was something he could crawl over. He had NEVER put his own body in moion beyond just a few slow inches at a time. It must have felt like the wind was whistling through his hair at the speed he was now able to achieve.
One thing for sure, it brought out the onrey little boy that I knew lived trapped in his brain. He was highly motivated to try to "run down" his brothers. He giggled with delight as he ran into furniture and it scooted as he "pushed". Today was my warning from Jon. He clearly showed me and the therapists that if we give him the opportunities, he'll be just as onry as his brothers. Too bad insurance isn't interested in letting little boys have the chance to be everything that they dream in their heads.
We had some more changes to make to the wheelchair and hopefully after I get those parts, Jon will be able to drive in reverse too and be better with sharper turns too. Then on to getting a workable communication device and developing reading skills....yeap, I know....some teachers have doubts...thats okay because I don't. I continue praying for the wisdom and resources, but I have no doubts.
11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord,
“plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you
hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and
pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and
find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be
found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you
back from captivity.~~Jeremiah 29:11-14a