Saving Noemi’s shoulders

It is not typical to be concerned about shoulder overuse injuries in a child. For most of us such problems occur much further down the road in our adult lives. But it is different if you are an active young girl with a wheelchair for legs, like 5 year old Noemi who worked with us today.

Noemi is a busy girl with spina bifida, for whom freedom means a wheelchair. She was, her family thought, getting around just fine in the wheelchair she already had. At first they were not excited about getting a different one – how could it be any better? We hoped we could raise their expectations of what an appropriate wheelchair for Noemi could look like!

Noemi sitting in her old wheelchair, next to the proposed new one.

Alan, the therapist working with her took the lead but most of us got involved in one way or another during the day. Here is Alan with Noemi showing how much easier she can reach the wheels without hurting her shoulders from propelling her wheelchair all the time. After all, she has only one pair and they need to last her a lifetime!

We cannot upload videos here but wow – once Noemi got going it was priceless to see her fly, and turn herself in circles saying “whee”! When we wanted a photo of her sitting in her old wheelchair after she had the new one she started to cry…that says a lot. Needless to say everyone was happy with the change.

It is a rite of childhood – turning in circles until you feel dizzy. Here is Noemi doing it!