Wheelchair Manoeuvring Ball Activity (Advanced)
Activity devised by Nancy Pinkerton - Habilitation Specialist, Royal Blind School
Encourage the young person to use "Two hands to come forward." The goal is to develop the young person's ability to adjust their own direction of movement.
Encourage the young person to use their head or hands to show you where the ball is.
It's important to ensure that the young person has the opportunity to listen to the ball and the sounds in the environment. This is also important if the young person uses echolocation.
If the young person bumps into a fence or wall they may push off from this surface. If they mange to get away from the obstacle encourage them to use one wheel forward to turn. It is always the opposite wheel from the direction they need to turn. Use the terms "left" and "right" to develop their understanding.
An important goal of this activity is to help the young person develop problem solving skills. Asking for help in this context is problem solving, but it is important to encourage the young person to try and solve problems themselves. Ask the young person if they need assistance and wait for them to respond before giving assistance. This can be done by using phrases such as “Can Frazier sort it?” and "Does Frazier need help?" Again, you can develop your own phrases with the young person you work with.
When retrieving the ball, start bouncing it from the spot where it landed and walk with the ball until you are closer to the young person.
In the video the young person asks for help by tapping his hand on the arm rest of his chair. This way of requesting help is specific to the young person and was developed with their habilitation specialist. Develop a way for your young person to ask for help.
When giving assistance, ask the young person which direction they need to turn by tapping on each arm and reinforcing “left” and “right”.
Once they have established the direction move that wheel backwards and reinforce by saying “right/left wheel backwards” while physically pulling the wheel backwards. This gives the young person the opportunity to feel the wheel move and hopefully they will learn to do this for themselves.
Please ensure that the young person has the opportunity to listen to the ball and the sounds in the environment by limiting spoken language to key phrases involved in the activity.
This is particularly important if the young person uses echolocation to navigate the environment.
Get practical advice for wheelchair mobility training: Wheelchair Mobility Route Learning Activity