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Daniel Rides and Swings

Daniel is thrilled with his new bike, which provides valuable exercise for his legs as well as a lot of fun. His parents Debbie and Adam consulted TAD about suitable specifications and purchased a commercial Repco bike with two 30cm wheels, which volunteer Don Payne then modified to suit Daniel’s needs.

Daniel is a happy five-year old who has cerebral palsy. Over the years, his parents have frequently turned to TAD for help so Daniel is able to enjoy the things other little boys of his age do – riding his bike, being pushed on the swing and playing with toy cars and trucks.

Daniel is thrilled with his new bike, which provides valuable exercise for his legs as well as a lot of fun. His parents Debbie and Adam consulted TAD about suitable specifications and purchased a commercial Repco bike with two 30cm wheels, which volunteer Don Payne then modified to suit Daniel’s needs. This was one of the early designs which led to the Freedom Wheels modular system.

Don attached a 200mm-diameter stabilizer wheel at each side of the existing wheels, using removable sprung outrigger brackets designed by TAD. He then installed high riser bars behind the seat and fitted a foam-lined support for Daniel’s back, with a thoracic belt. PVC heel cups with straps keep his feet on the pedals.

The existing handlebars were too low for Daniel to use comfortably, so Don added a second set above them and padded the crossbar to protect Daniel’s head in case he falls forward onto the bar. Don then used the original handlebar to attach a tow handle which his mum or dad uses to guide him along. This handle is fitted with its own brake.

The swing was also a great triumph. Debbie was unable to find a swing that would meet the family’s requirements, so she took the problem to TAD. Volunteer Ken Hickson made an inexpensive swing seat that can be used with the family’s existing standard swing frame.

To do this, he fitted a commercial plastic SitRite size C seat with a 600mm high timber back extension and 300mm-high side panels. This has back and side cushions made of 12mm foam covered with outdoor furniture fabric and attached with strips of hook and fasteners.

Ken then attached a 50mm pelvic belt from the corners of the seat and finished the seat with a large wooden pommel. When Daniel tried the seat it was clear he needed more support, so Ken added two wide straps which go around Daniel’s chest and fasten with with strips of hook and fasteners.

The swing is easy to hang and clamp in place on the frame, and Daniel is ready for action. However, since Ken finished the swing in February, Daniel has grown so much that his feet touch the ground. Ken therefore made a follow-up visit to shorten the metal swing supports by 150mm.

Daniel is almost too big now for his low table and chair, which were also supplied by TAD. They enable him to sit up rather than lying on the floor, which is important for a number of health and social reasons. He has been using them since before he was two and they have done sterling service.

The plywood table, built by volunteer Errolle Thompson, is about 56cm square and sits 25cm above the floor, with a rim around three edges to hold Daniel’s toys and a semicircular cut out on the fourth. The chair sits on the floor and can be bolted at the edge of the table when Daniel is strapped in to hold it in position. The back of the chair is made up of three 45cm-high panels angled to form a curve.

As with all children, the needs of children with disabilities change as they grow. Volunteers have made several other devices for Daniel that he has since outgrown, and his parents have passed them on to his school for use by other children when appropriate. These include a prone lying board and a table to fit around his walking frame, as well as modifications to several chairs.

Debbie and Adam have nothing but praise for the help provided by TAD.

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