10-year-old Michael loves horse riding, boccia and badminton. He has cerebral palsy that affects his movement and co-ordination, which for Michael means that he is reliant on a wheelchair to get around. He has attended Whizz-Kidz Wheelchair Skills Training for a few years now, which has enabled him to do more for himself. His mum is no longer worried about Michael’s future and is confident that he will be more than capable to live independently.
Michael’s mum, Helen, says:
‘Wheelchair Skills Training has provided Michael with the opportunity to meet other wheelchair users and make friends. It’s also a good opportunity for me to interact with other parents and build up a support network and we are still in touch with a number of kids and parents from the Croydon wheelchair skills training session.
‘It’s also great for me, as a parent, to meet Whizz-Kidz trainers who are confident and independent adult wheelchair users. When Michael saw his trainer’s specially adapted car for the first time, he turned to me and said, “I’m going to drive one day”.
‘My husband and I use to think about building a house with an annex for Michael for when he got older, but now we have no fears – he will be a strong, independent and confident young person, and will be able to live like any other young adult.
‘We found that the road safety element of the training was particularly good. Now when we are out shopping I am now confident that Michael is more than capable to push himself across the road. I don’t panic. This wouldn’t be the case if Michael had not been taught how to use his wheelchair properly. When Michael attended the first session a few years ago, he wasn’t even able to push himself up the small ramp to where it was taking place.
‘Michael is now looking forward to attending further training sessions which will help him with different levels of ability as he grows up, ensuring that the experience is challenging enough. He will also be going to Wimbledon to take part in try-outs for the GB Badminton Paralympic team. Later in the year, we are also very much looking forward to Michael attending a mainstream secondary school.’