Child Wheelchairs and Spinal Muscular Atrophy

Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is a genetic disorder that affects the control of muscle movement. SMA is characterized by the loss of motor neurons in the spinal cord and the part of the brain that connects to the spinal cord. The loss of these specialized nerve cells results in muscle weakness and wasting (also known as atrophy). There are many types of SMA and several of them appear during infancy and early childhood. In severe cases of spinal muscular atrophy, the muscles used for breathing and swallowing are affected.

Because of progressive muscle weakness and wasting, many individuals with spinal muscular atrophy experience the loss of the ability to walk and position themselves. This loss of mobility results in the need for a motorized wheelchair. The good news is that there are high-quality complex rehab power wheelchairs on the market that can be customized to meet your child’s needs. Some of these customizable features include specialized seating, positioning and electronics. 

The Edge 3 Stretto™ child wheelchair is adaptable, expandable and is available with iLevel® power adjustable seat height, allowing children to elevate up to 12 inches while driving at 3.5 mph. iLevel’s Extra Stability Technology® enhances safety for completing daily activities such as transferring, toileting, grooming and cooking. The Edge 3 Stretto child wheelchair also comes standard with LED front and rear fender lights, allowing your child to see and be safely seen while crossing streets or parking lots.

Your child may benefit from expandable electronics like the Q-Logic 3 Advanced Drive Controls. These controls give your child the independence of driving their motorized wheelchair with a joystick. If they are unable to operate their electric wheelchair using a joystick, they may benefit from optional specialty drive controls, such as a head array, chin control or Stealth® iDrive.

As symptoms progress, a patient with SMA may need power positioning on his or her child wheelchair to assist with function, postural realignment and pressure relief. TRU-Balance® 3 Power Positioning Systems on motorized child wheelchairs are highly adjustable and offer many medical benefits, including increased sitting tolerance, pressure relief, positioning for improved breathing and function and independent repositioning. Power tilt, power recline, iLevel, power articulating leg rests and power articulating foot platform are available options on TRU-Balance® 3.

If you are looking to purchase a pediatric wheelchair, check out our resources on how to buy a child wheelchair and where to buy a child wheelchair.

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