How to choose daily living aids

Understanding which equipment can help you and your child

From mobility devices to sensory aids, bikes and trikes to bath time tools, there are thousands of living aids on the market. They’re all designed to make life more accessible for children with a disability, and to enable children to reach their full potential.

Question is, how do you pick the best resources for your child? Deciding which equipment is the most appropriate – and what’s going to sit gathering dust in the corner of your living room – can be tough when there’s so much choice out there. While you naturally want the best for your child, you don’t want to spend too much or add more clutter to your home.

Here are a few tips to help guide your decisions.

Join support groups or parenting forums.

Find a forum whose members have children in a similar situation as yours. They may be able to give you practical advice about aids they have used and items you may not have considered. Just be aware that every child has different needs. What works for another family may not be right for yours.

Seek support from an allied health professional.

An occupational therapist, physiotherapist or speech pathologist can help you select the right equipment for your child, based on their specific needs. They can provide support to use the equipment effectively.

Ask for a trial or a demonstration before you buy.

Most companies that sell assistive equipment like wheelchairs and mobility aids will be happy to do this for you. Some companies have showrooms or display centres where you can come and test out their equipment. Others may come to you.

Measure, measure, measure.

If you’re buying equipment to be used in and around your home, make sure it’s a good fit for your existing layout. The same goes for equipment to be used in the car or other places like school classrooms.

Plan for long-term needs.

Just as all children quickly grow out of things like their cot and change table, your child is very likely to grow out of the specialist equipment that you invest in. It’s a great idea to get advice from specialists to help you plan for now and the future. While some aids and resources can be used into the long term; others can’t.

Is funding available?

In short, yes. The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) and others, like the Victorian government’s aids and equipment program, provide subsidies and financial support for things like mobility aids, living equipment and vehicle modifications.

Some schemes have waiting lists; others are means-tested. Depending on the type of equipment you’re after, you may also be able to lease or hire.

If you need help navigating the system to ensure you get maximum support, you can contact Scope at any time.