The chilling challenges of winter conditions for young people with mobility devices.
Review of article by Ellie Moore
Winter conditions pose many problems to individuals that use mobility devices. Things like snow blocked sidewalks, freezing temperatures, and ice-covered driveways are a few examples of issues that influence mobility in the built environment. These issues increase the risk of falling, frostbite, worsened chronic conditions, and increased time it takes to get from one place to another. Morales, et al., sought to address these challenges and to get young mobility device users into the conversation about how to fix some of these problems through possible design solutions to the built environment or to their mobility devices (2016). Thirteen participants from Canada, nine males and four females, between the ages 12 and 21, participated in this study (Morales, et al., 2016). Twelve of the participants used power chairs and one participant used a manual chair (Morales, et al., 2016). For this qualitative study design, Morales, et al., conducted in-depth interviews, collection of photos of the participant’s experiences in winter, individual co-design sessions, and group co-design sessions. The group co-design sessions were conducted with mechanical engineers and therapists to help with the feasibility of the youth’s designs. Seven designs were presented at the group session and two solutions were picked and considered the most feasible (Morales, et al., 2016). The two designs were a traction device for wheelchairs in snow and a mat made of rollers to clean the dirt, sand, and snow off of wheelchair tires (Morales, et al., 2016). See figure 1 and 2 of the draw ups of the two designs. Design one would allow individuals who use wheelchairs the ability to traverse through the snow more easily, which would also allow individuals to be outside more. Design two would allow individuals to come back indoors from being out in the snow without creating a mess. These two designs represent options that could potentially improve young persons who use mobility devices social participation and confidence to move around the built environment during winter conditions (Morales, et al., 2016). This study is just the starting point. It shows that a conversation needs to be had about the built environment during the winter months. We need to work together to improve these conditions to allow better social participation between youth’s who use mobility devices. With this, better accessibility throughout every season, for every one could be achievable.
Morales, E., Lindsay, S., Edwards, G., Howell, L., Vincent, C., Yantzi, N., & Gauthier, V. (2016). Addressing challenges for youths with mobility devices in winter conditions. Disability and Rehabilitation, 40(1), 21-27. doi:10.1080/09638288.2016.1239768