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Charitable Funding Advice on Special Needs Pushchairs for Disabled Children

Every day I get asked Can you help me? I don’t know what to do as my disabled child needs a buggy and the NHS can’t help / won’t fund it / have offered me something that doesn’t meet our needs…I have two children and need a double buggy….I can’t afford a pushchair….HELP, I don’t know where to turn!

The good news is that in the vast majority of cases WE CAN HELP. You may need a single stroller or double special needs buggy, you may have one or two disabled children and/or siblings, you may even have a baby on the way and an older disabled child who’s got way too big, tall or heavy and now outgrown their standard buggy. You may even have a young child with a condition and need to carry medical equipment. Whatever your needs are, we are a friendly team who want to help and we do this by talking to you about your specific requirements for your disabled child / children AND your needs as a family unit.

Whatever disability your child or children have, I’m sure we can help you find a suitable pushchair for them. We have helped families who have children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Cerebral Palsy, Downs Syndrome, Global Developmental Delay (GDD), Sensory Processing Disorder, Behavioural conditions, Genetic disorders, Chromosome abnormalities, Heart defects, Hypermobility and many other life-limiting or terminal conditions. Whether you’re a parent of a disabled child, a foster carer or have adopted disabled children, please get in touch and we will endeavour to do our very best for you and your family.

Don’t worry – we will guide you through what paediatric and mobility equipment is available for your children whether it’s a basic stroller, a 4-wheeled pushchair, a 3-wheeler all-terrain buggy or a tilt-in-space pushchair and if you need a single or double buggy, we can advise on options for a second child. We understand that often parents don’t want a medical-looking pushchair and we have buggies that won’t shout ‘I’m a disabled child’. We will do our best to find you the most appropriate pushchair for your disabled child and one that will allow you to get out and about with ALL your family.

Sometimes we have to be creative and this is where our experience comes in handy, we know what’s out there on the market, AND what’s not! We have been able to help thousands of parents over the years and whilst there has never been a wide choice for pushchairs for disabled children, there are some really good buggies for children from 2 years upwards and we even have super large pushchairs for teenagers and young adults. If you have two or three children to transport then this is where our knowledge and experience is invaluable as we have been able to accommodate most circumstances and provide a practical pushchair option to families who have been struggling to get and about with their children.

You can find all our pushchairs suitable for disabled children under our Special Needs department. Here you will find single pushchairs and double buggies and should you need extra seats or an option for another child, then we have other options that we can talk you through. Our most popular options are the Joggster Twist, which now has a new 2nd seat called the Shuttle, the Special Tomato Jogger is a great option for the taller child, and the Special Tomato EIO can be turned into a double buggy by adding a Buggypod side seat (or a rear Perle seat). For larger children, teenagers and adults we have the Axiom Endeavour, which is a super-big all-terrain pushchair and if you have two disabled children to transport, there is the ultimate customised double pushchair – the Axiom Endeavour Double is two single pushchair that lock together to make a double and then release to go back to 2 singles…how nifty is that! We’ve also recently developed specialist Flexi-Connect Buggy Connectors that allow you to join two larger specialist pushchairs together, so you can use them as singles or a ‘double’ – these are a world first and an innovative new product that will help families get out and about.

We will also help by taking you through the process by which you can apply for funding for your children’s mobility equipment and we have included a list of some of the organisations that could possibly help you fund pushchairs or other equipment for your disabled child. This list is mainly by condition with some general national charities at the end. It is not exhaustive and there are many other charities as well as local or regional organisations that may help you.

And help can come in many forms e.g. St Austell’s Brewery in Cornwall, Champney’s Hotels and even Radio Stations have funded special needs buggies – so don’t just think about those charities you may have heard of…ask around, look in the local paper, communicate with others on general special needs or condition-related forums, use social media (there are lots of support groups on Facebook) and Google to seek out anyone who may be able to help you. We find that local organisations are very willing to fund equipment to help local people and they are generally quicker to make a decision!! We are fortunate to have worked with many fantastic local, regional and National charities and are grateful for all buggies they have funded which has helped to improve the lives of thousands of families.

We also provide advice and equipment to some of the UK’s largest charities like Newlife Charity for Disabled Children, Whizz–Kidz and Caudwell Children as well many NHS Wheelchair Services, Primary Care Trusts, Family Support Workers, Occupational Health Therapists and many other people who may be involved with assessing and/or advising parents and carers of disabled children. Outside the home, we have also provided Special Schools with single and double buggies for children with a wide range of disabilities and different ages, allowing them to take more children out and take part in activities which they may not have been able to before. If you are a SENCO and know anyone we can help, please contact us for more information.

If you are waiting for a referral to NHS Wheelchair Services or have been turned down for a pushchair, then please get in touch as we can often help you apply for funding and supply a pushchair. We have found many parents spend a long time waiting to see wheelchair services only to find that they are not eligible for a pushchair or that the NHS are unable to supply an appropriate buggy, particularly when you have two children. We can help you as we have a range of options for two children, and have even managed to help families with 3 or more children too.

If you have children under 3 years old, you may not even get referred as they don’t generally see children before this age. However, your child may have special needs, or have a medical condition that requires them to be in a different type of pushchair, perhaps for medical needs you need a parent facing pushchair so you can monitor them closely, or perhaps you need to carry medical equipment alongside your child. It may even be that your child may be very big for their age and have outgrown their buggy and need something more robust. Either way, when the NHS cannot help, we probably can, so please give us a call on our helpline. We’re here to help you get the support you need.

When applying for funding you will need to provide evidence of your child/children’s disability, information on your family circumstances and in some cases, family finances. For evidence supporting your application, ask for a report/letter from health professionals like your child’s Occupational Therapist (OT), Physiotherapist, Health Visitor or even their GP. You can also ask a Social Worker, Family Support Worker or SENCO for a supporting reference. Your OT / Wheelchair Service may be able to advise you on the most appropriate condition-specific charity. We have lists of charities in our Rersource Centre, the majority may be able to provide funding even if you do not have a specific condition. If you would like more help and advice on either who can support your application or which charity to apply to then please call our helpline on 01670 458624 and we will be happy to help.

We hope this gives you some help and guidance in your search, however please CALL US for more advice and support – we have many years of experience in the special needs community and we are here to help you and your family.

Our Helpline Number is 01670 458624 or Email us at: info@freedomforkids.co.uk

You can find specialist mobility equipment including buggies, postural supports and seating aids and pushchair accessories in our Products department.

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Twins & Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

Twins and Autism Spectrum Disorders – here, we share some results of studies of twins and the incidence of autism.

Two studies, one in the United States (done by David Greenberg, a geneticist at Columbia University in New York) and other in Britain (done by Christopher Gillberg of St George Hospital Medical School in London), found a higher rate of autism among twins.
 
The rate of autism in identical twins was 12 to 14 times that of the general population, and the rate of autism in fraternal twins was about 4 times higher than the general population. Another study presented at a conference in Boston in 2005 postulated that birth month greatly affects the chances of twins suffering from autism with twins born in January having an 80% higher chance of developing the disorder than twins born in December.

 

While this information may seem scary at first, it is important to note two things: most of these studies relied on small samples groups, which may not provide the most reliable information. Also, the Columbia study limited itself to twins with siblings with autism, which has been identified as a risk factor for developing the disorder, and may have skewed the results.

 
Finally, most twins will not suffer from autistic disorders, and even if one twin does develop autism, there is no guarantee that the other will develop it as well (even amongst identical twins). One mother of twins kept a daily diary on her fraternal twins development; through this diary, one can see signs of autism in one of the twins dating from six months of age. Now twelve years old, one twin is autistic, and the other is unaffected. However, the mothers documentation of the twins development opened the eyes of researchers and parents as to the pervasiveness of this disorder, and the possibility that it can be identified much earlier than previously thought.

 

For years, scientists, parents, and doctors have debated the causes of autism. At first, twin studies seemed to point to a genetic cause for the disease; however, the increased risk amongst fraternal twins (though not as high as that of identicals) seems to indicate that perhaps something about being a twin could also be a factor. This means that environmental factors in the womb, placental development, or even the experience of being raised with a same-age sibling could have some triggering effect for autism.

Some authorities estimate that the incidence of autistic disorders has increased over 172% since 1990. Others argue that the incidence of autism has remained static, but our ability to identify and assist autistic children has improved. 

For more information on the studies cited in this article, and to access information on having twins assessed for autism, see the links below (Please copy and paste these into your browser):
Excess of Twins among Affected Sibling Pairs with Autism: Implications for the Etiology of Autism David A. Greenberg, Susan E. Hodge, Janice Sowinski, and Doug Nicoll from The American Journal of Human Genetics
http://www.journals.uchicago.eduJHG/journal/issues/v69n5/013031/013031.html

Increased Rate of Twins among Affected Sibling Pairs with Autism
Catalina Betancur, Marion Leboyer, and Christopher Gillberg
from The American Journal of Human Genetics
http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?artid=447617

AWARES article on Boston Autism Conference
http://www.awares.org/pkgs/news/news.asp?showItemID=546&;board=&;bbcode=&;profileCode=ion=

Smile for the Cameraand for science (article about mom who kept twin diary) from the age.com.au

http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2005/03/19/1111086056480.html

Warning Signs and Symptoms of Autism and Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) from Autismwebhttp://www.autismweb.com/signs.htm

(Please copy and paste these links into your browser to view):