Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Function Trumps Style in Our Family AT Needs

By Christina Mills, Deputy Director of CFILC

Function and style don’t always go together. I used to think it was sort of funny that stores carried so many different baby swings and highchairs. I mean, besides the color and theme, who cares…right? I was completely oblivious to all the bells and whistles that each swing and highchair comes with and clearly wasn’t thinking about how the technology was going to one day assist me in taking care of my baby's needs. 

It sounds unbelievable, but I’m being honest when I say it took me over five hours to create my baby gift registry. Going down the swing aisle became slightly overwhelming. I had my very young Grandmother with me who insisted that I get every swing that I thought could possibly work for me off the shelf and literally see how close I could get my wheelchair up to it. At one point, I thought she was going to ask me to try it out with a doll. 

AT for parents with disabilities - baby swing
It was fortunate for me though, that Grandma was with me that day. I would have never realized how much swingers vary, had she not encouraged me to try them all out. Some swings seats are stationary and do not allow you to change the direction that they swing; they only go forwards and backwards. Other swings allow you to change the direction of the seat, and with those, the swing not only goes forwards and backwards, but also swings side to side. That feature and the shape of the base of the swing is what influenced my decisions to add it to our registry. 

The base of the swing is what holds the seat of the swing up. Many bases are built wide and bulky. Those large bases made it impossible for me in my wheelchair to pull up close to the seat of the swing where I would be putting my baby down. I eventually found a swing that not only came with a swivel seat and a base that was cut out so that I could get right up next to it, but it was also the perfect height for me. Yes, baby swings come in different heights as well! They vary just enough in height to make a significant difference.

Highchairs come with the same type of pluses and minuses. The bases are wide and take up a lot of ground space, and  getting my wheelchair up close is challenging. I typically have to pull up at an angle. Fortunately for us, highchairs have height adjustments. What works for me in my wheelchair doesn’t work for my husband, but that’s okay, because we can easily adjust the seat to work for both of us. 
AT for parents with disabilities - baby swing

I have found that AT for parents with disabilities is just as important as my daily AT needs. It takes a lot of time to figure out what works right for me. 


  1. I’m amazed, I have to admit. Seldom do I encounter a blog that’s equally educative and interesting, and let me tell you, you've hit the nail on the head.
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