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Spinal Cord Injury Paralysis Resource Center

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Our Experts Tell You how to Buy Clothes, Bags, and Gifts for Kids

Buying Clothes
When buying clothes for a wheelchair user, ease of use of being able to put an item on is just as important as the style. Liz Callahan of Versa AccessWear suggests a few tips to remember when looking through the clothing racks for that perfect outfit.

"Fabric selection is important," says Callahan. "You want clothes that are breathable and comfortable." Callahan advises to also keep fabric in mind because wheelchair users have sensitive skin from being seated all the time.

Items that don't "move around" too much are essential. "You want to feel comfortable and not always have to watch yourself to make sure your clothes are in place," says Callahan. "Who doesn't want to feel good when in fashionable clothing!"

Picking a Wheelchair Bag
When choosing what type of wheelchair bag to purchase, keep in mind what the bag will be used for. "Figure out what you want to carry (so you'll know how big it has to be) and where it's easiest to get to," says Mary Bellue of Adaptable Designs. "Sometimes the answer is one bag, sometimes it's multiple bags (one on the armrest, one beneath the seat, one on the back.)"

Keep the quality of the bag in mind. "For instance, are the main compartment seams taped? This makes a bag stronger and last longer," says Bellue "Also, does the bag have ring pulls on the zippers to make them easier for people with limited hand dexterity to open and close them?"

"If someone can not open zippers, does the design lend itself to leaving the zipper opened so that the pocket or other storage area is readily accessible," says Bellue. Flaps covering main compartments can also be tucked inside if more open access is needed.

For Kids!
"Buying gifts for someone in a wheelchair is not all that different from buying gifts for anyone else," says Kathy Lorkovic of Fat Brain Toys.

Selling over 6,000 specialty toys, games and gifts Fat Brain Toys has an entire section on their website, www.fatbraintoys.com, dedicated to toys and resources for children with special needs. Lorkovic says, "Consider the person's interests first and then find toys that can be played with on a tabletop surface or toys that encourage creativity."

In particular, Lorkovic suggests art related toys, which boost creativity. "Art supplies in particular are great because they encourage self-expression, develop self-confidence, accommodate differing ability levels, and often provide an end product that becomes a focal point that other people can relate to."

Return to the Gift Guide for People Living with Paralysis.

- Wheelchair Extras
Odds & Ends
Tools & Technology
Just Because
For Kids

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A Reeve Foundation Fact Sheet on Wheelchair and Equipment Donations (PDF)

Assistive Technology (AT) Resources: Proper fit of a wheelchairThe National Academy of Neuropsychology (NAN) has compiled a list of various Assistive Technology (AT) resource agencies around the nation, including resources on driver education, independent living, state agencies, mobility equipment and more.

Aquila Wheelchair CushionsThe Aquila Corporation offers a line of alternating pressure wheelchair cushions along with a two-zone static manual inflate cushion. These cushions are designed to meet pressure relief needs thereby helping to prevent pressure sores from developing down the road.

BrunoBruno Independent Living Aids has become known for its: power chairs, scooters, high quality stair lifts and Turning Automotive Seating.

ColoursFor people who like to think outside the box, check out the chairs put out by Colours In Motion.

e.motionA standard manual wheelchair can get extra help with special rims containing small yet powerful motors.

Frog LegsFrog Legs Inc. makes a product that makes mobility a much smoother experience. A flexible hinge allows the castor wheels on wheelchairs to move more easily over bumps and obstacles thereby reducing the impact normally felt by the person seated. Think of them as shock absorbers for your wheelchair.

Model Systems Knowledge Translation CenterThe factsheets listed at the MSKTC were produced through a collaboration between the MSKTC and the SCI Model Systems. These materials undergo expert and consumer reviews to ensure they are up-to-date, evidence-based, and consumer-friendly.

The Jay CushionSunrise Medical produces a cushion for wheelchairs called The Jay which is filled with a slow-flowing gel. The Jay addresses posture, skin and functional needs.

PermobilPermobil produces chairs ideal for those requiring the flexibility to constantly change positions. Technology and comfort combine to allow for active sitting.

Pride MobilityFor tight and precise control, Pride Mobility Products Corporation makes the very popular Jazzy Power Chairs.

Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago: Wheelchair Seating & PositioningHaving mobility is an important factor in being able to lead a productive and fulfilling life. If an individual is unable to walk, an appropriate mobility base and seating system are imperative to enhance the ability to interact and perform functional skills.

ROHOThe ROHO is a brand of cushion seats designed for protection and comfort. Each cushion is based on a support system of evenly distributed air.

The Spinal Cord Injury Information Network: Wheelchairs & SeatingInformation on seating and positioning.

Spinlife.comOnline durable medical equipment (including wheelchairs and cushions).

SportaidOnline catalog for durable medical equipment.

TiLiteTitanium wheelchairs; lightweight and strong.

UCP Wheels for HumanityA non-profit organization that refurbishes donated wheelchairs and hand fits them to children and adults with disabilities in developing nations.

Wheelchairjunkie.comA resourceful and opinionated website owned and operated by self-described "power chair gonzo" Mark E. Smith, who also designs power chairs for Pride Mobility Products. Says Smith, "WheelchairJunkie.com is about mobility, not manufacturers, so the voices expressed here represent only users."

WheelchairNetA federally funded virtual community for people who have an interest in wheelchair technology.

Wheelchair FoundationOver 100 million of the world's citizens today are deprived of mobility because of warfare, disease, disaster or advanced age. The wheelchairs they need simply to get across the street - or across the room - are out of reach. The Wheelchair Foundation believes that these people deserve the independence and dignity that comes with owning a wheelchair, regardless of their nationality. This is a nonprofit organization leading an international effort to deliver a wheelchair to every man, woman and child in the world who needs one. For those individuals, the Wheelchair Foundation offers freedom, self-reliance, mobility and hope.

Whirlwind Wheelchair InternationalWhirlwind Wheelchair International (WWI) is the communications hub of the Whirlwind Wheelchair Network of independent wheelchair-producing workshops in developing countries. Founded in 1989 as the Wheeled Mobility Center (WMC), WWI's primary mission is 1) to teach wheelchair riders in developing countries to design, build, and repair their own wheelchairs; 2) to enable rider/builders to create businesses for the manufacture and distribution of wheelchairs to others; and 3) to foster the ever-widening Whirlwind Network of rider/builders around the world who exchange ideas for the continuous improvement of wheelchair design.

World Wide Wheelchairs & Used Medical EquipmentScott Dier began this company in July 1998. He wanted to sell a hearing aid on the Internet. Then people started asking about wheelchairs and other medical equipment! Mr. Dier then proceeded to look for equipment around North America and found many items available. World Wide Wheelchairs exploded into a company that was needed throughout the world! They have sent medical equipment and wheelchairs to India, Saudi Arabia, Chile, Japan, Mexico, Jamaica, Canada, England, Brazil and all over the U.S. and the U.S. Military.

Wheelchair AccessoriesClick on this link to see how you can accessorize your chair or scooter and improve matters. Backpacks, cupholders, trays, canopies and umbrellas are just a few examples.

Paralysis Resource Center The Reeve Foundation Paralysis Resource Center Information Specialists are reachable business weekdays, Monday through Friday, toll-free at 800-539-7309 from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm ET. You may also schedule a call or send a message online.

Reeve Foundation Online Paralysis Community Connecting people living with paralysis, families, friends and caregivers so we can share support, experience, knowledge, and hope.

Quality of Life Grants DatabaseFind resources within the PRC Quality of Life Grants Database. Search by Zip Code, State or an Entire Category.

Library Books and VideosFind resources within the PRC library catalog.

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Paralysis Resource Guide

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The Reeve Foundation Paralysis Resource Center Information Specialists are reachable business weekdays, Monday through Friday, toll-free at 800-539-7309 from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm Eastern U.S. Time. International callers use 973-467-8270. You may also schedule a call or send a message online.

This project was supported, in part by grant number 90PR3002, from the U.S. Administration for Community Living, Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, D.C. 20201. Grantees undertaking projects under government sponsorship areencouraged to express freely their findings and conclusions. Points of view or opinions do not, therefore, necessarily represent official Administration for Community Living policy.