TitleMobility in pictures: a participatory photovoice narrative study exploring powered mobility provision for children and families.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsFeldner, HA, Logan, SW, Galloway, JC
JournalDisabil Rehabil Assist Technol
Date Published03/2018

AIM: Rehabilitation professionals are increasingly recognizing mobility as a basic human right and endorsing the efficacy of early powered mobility for children with mobility impairments to foster independence, promote socialization with peers and facilitate participation in family and community life. However, the relationship between mobility and technology provision, when considered in the context of lived experiences of children with mobility impairments and their families, is complex and understudied. Perceptions of these experiences from children's own points of view are especially limited, as is the use of participatory research methods in describing these experiences. The purpose of this study was to empower children and families as co-researchers, investigating their experiences and perspectives of powered mobility provision processes and early use of their mobility technology in their own words and images.  Methods: Two families in a major Midwest metropolitan area- one who was receiving a powered wheelchair and one who was receiving a modified powered ride-on toy car- participated as co-researchers from 2015-2016, documenting their experiences with a research camera and narrating their photos to describe meaningful or important aspects of their respective powered mobility provision processes and early use of their devices.

RESULTS: Four themes emerged: (1) Dys/Function of Mobility Technology; (2) Daily Life, Play and Participation; (3) Emerging Self/Advocacy and (4) Complex Family/Industry Interplay.  Conclusions: These themes and experiences may inform further innovation in powered mobility practices, generate new hypotheses about the role of technology in shaping disability identity and demonstrate the feasibility and impact of using participatory methods more broadly in rehabilitation research. Implications for Rehabilitation Participatory methods may be a useful and underutilized research tool in describing the impact of powered mobility provision processes on child and family experiences of technology and disability. Empowering children and families as co-researchers is important to move the field of powered mobility technology forward in creating innovative, accessible and socially welcoming devices and processes. It is important to capture the similarities and differences in child and family perceptions and experiences within different models of powered mobility provision, such as traditional powered wheelchair prescription and crowdsourced ride-on toy car modification. Powered mobility provision processes and the perceptions and experiences of children and families move beyond business or medical transactions and may help shape disability identity and pride. A disability studies framework may be useful in analyzing the complexities of technology provision and the nuanced interplay between bodies and technology.

Alternate JournalDisabil Rehabil Assist Technol
PubMed ID29522358