The Wizzybug has arrived in Australia thanks to Ability Centre and the CP Tech service.
The Wizzybug is an age appropriate powered mobility device that combines toy like looks with flexible power wheelchair based electronics. It has adjustable seating and a range of control options including remote, joy stick and head switches so it can be used by children with a range of diagnoses and mobility levels.
Staff at Ability Centre have been engaged for some time in research into mobility devices for young children. Until recently, only devices for school age children and older were readily available. Many young children with disabilities have difficulty reaching movement and mobility milestones, so the Wizzybug can assist their early mobility.
Specialist therapists at Ability Centre will work on a case by case basis with families to assess suitability of the Wizzybug each child’s needs.
Actions such as rolling, crawling, standing and walking, which are all essential building blocks to childhood development and quality of life, can be very difficult for some young children who have disabilities. However, just like their peers, children with mobility limitations need to play and explore their environments and assistance with self-initiated mobility is important in achieving this.
Wizzybugs are designed specifically for toddlers with disabilities and are powered by a light weight, re-chargeable battery. They have the capacity for five kilometres of travel between charges and their puncture proof tyres mean parks and playgrounds that had previously been inaccessible can now be explored.
Therapists working in Ability Centre Centre’s CP Tech team discovered the Wizzybug, specifically designed for toddlers with a disability, which had been developed in England at the Bath Institute of Medical Engineering (BIME). An agreement has now been finalised with BIME which sees The Centre the first and only distributor of Wizzybugs in Western Australia.
Late last year, The Centre acquired Australia’s first Wizzybug and began to work with families to provide the innovative devices to toddlers who need support to explore the world around them. With seven of the devices now, The Centre can offer multiple Wizzybugs for trial and loan and with the finalised agreement with BIME can order and supply Wizzybugs throughout Western Australia, with a view to potentially supplying across Australia and New Zealand in the near future.
Ability Centre received some funding from the Australian Government Non Government Centre Support (NGCS) program which helped to acquire the first of these devices.
Ability Centre continues to fundraise for Wizzybugs as families may not be able to access traditional funding pools for this device.
For more information please call Ability Centre’s CP Tech office on 94430210.