Children between the ages of four and 20 with severe intellectual disabilities have a bright and caring place to develop their abilities at Wangee Park Special School in Sydney’s South West. As well as education, the school also plays an important role in looking after the welfare and therapy needs of the children.
One aspect which needs to be constantly monitored is the children’s weight. Most of the children also have physical disabilities, and some of them have great difficulty eating normally. If they are not putting on enough weight or actually losing it, this must be identified so they can be fed by other means.
However, this is not as easy as it sounds when a lot of the children use wheelchairs. The school bought a frame which goes over a conventional set of scales and enables the wheelchair to be wheeled onto it, so the user can be weighed while sitting in the chair. The chair is then weighed on its own and this figure is subtracted to find the child’s weight.
Unfortunately this did not completely solve the problem. The frame has central bars that fit onto the scales, and side tracks that take the wheels of the chair. But the front castors of the smaller-sized children’s chairs did not fit onto to the side tracks of the frame, which seemed to be designed for larger adult chairs.
TAD volunteer Derek Cooke was able to provide a very simple solution. He cut a piece of aluminium sheeting to size and pop-riveted it between the side tracks at one end of the frame, creating a platform for the front castors – and weighing the children is no longer a problem.