I have an 8 year old who is still mobile.  He seems to be getting tired easier and falling more frequently.  We are at a point where we need to figure out what our next step should be.  I've been told it takes a while to get things in motion so I figured I'd start asking around. What is recommended a scooter or a chair?  Where do I begin?  Any suggestions or advice?

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Comment by Karen on February 12, 2011 at 9:01pm


When our son entered the 5th grade he had a difficult time getting out to recess and back in the time allowed.  His classroom was on the 2nd floor in the furtherst corner of the building.  We said "what's with that?"  On Friday we went to the medical equipment store and got a Pride scooter the following Friday.  Erik parked it outside the classroom and walked around the classroom, but used to scooter to get to lunch and recess.  We were able to leave the scooter at school and charged it in the office and brought it home on weekends.  He ended up needing a power chair in 7th grade due to some nondmd medical issues.  It was good for us as a transition and we made it fit in our budget.  We also saved insurance for the power chair. It does not have good trunk support so it's not right for every kid.  It was a good transition vehicle for our son.  He stopped walking at 15.

Comment by Tammy Angel on January 26, 2011 at 8:13pm

Hi Shannon,

Do you have a physical therapist that you are currently working with?  They are the best to advise on which to get.  There are pros and cons to both.  I am not sure where you live, but going by the Oklahoma rules, Medicaid will replace a wheelchair when the child has outgrown it, or it is no longer beneficial, because of a change in status,  Most insurance companies that I deal with will replace a wheelchair every 2-3 years, or when the needs change as well.  When getting a scooter, remember that the upper extremities have a tendency to tire easily.  Also, be aware that the spine will need better support than a scooter can give.  One of the big problems with DMD is that scoliosis is more likely to occur.  You need to have a proper seating system (back and seat cushions), and possible lateral support.  I realize a scooter is better transportation wise, but not necessarily better in the long run.  Also...depending on when your insurance will allow you to get a replacement chair, you may need to think in terms of tilt, if your son gets to the point he is no longer able to reposition himself.  He will need to be able to do this to avoid any pressure points.  I realize he is 8 now, and able to do the majority of things himself, but 3 years has a huge effect.  Also, is your home wheelchair accessible?  How will you transport the wheelchair?  These are questions your insurance company will be asking as well.  Most insurance companies now require a physical therapist or an assistive technology professional to be involved in the evaluation for a wheelchair, and a home evaluation to be performed, measuring doorways, checking for ramps, floor surfaces, etc.  Please contact me if you have further questions...Tammy

Comment by Jennifer Hale on January 26, 2011 at 12:44pm

Hi Shannon,

We got our son a scooter at age 10 (he is now 12).  It was relatively easy to get the scooter and we ended up with the Go Go Elite.  My son had a problem holding the drive lever with his hand as it needed to be pulled back at all times to make the scooter drive.  His arms would also wear out if he drove for very long...keeping his arms extended to hold the steering column.

Looking back, it would have been more beneficial if we had ordered a scooter-chair, so his arms and hands could be in a relaxed position.  We would have used the scooter-chair more than we ended up using the scooter. 

He is now in a power wheelchair...he needed the wheelchair sooner than we expected.  Special circumstances of type 1 diabetes onset affected his health and he lost his walking ability over the span of one week.  So you might want think of purchasing the scooter with personal funds, grants or MDA funds so your insurance wouldn't be used up for the wheelchair.  It took our insurance almost one year from starting the process, to deliver the power wheelchair...we used only a manual wheelchair while waiting.  A scooter-chair would have been much better than relying on the manual chair.

That's my input.  I hope you find the right fit for your son.

Comment by christine good on January 23, 2011 at 9:33pm
Does anyone have a Zappy 3 pro? 
Comment by Keith Van Houten on January 22, 2011 at 3:41pm

For scooters, a lot of people have recommended the Go Go Elite Traveller from Pride Mobility.  link   It's a smaller sized unit.  We tried one of these and a emotion power assist chair a couple of weeks ago.  We're working out the insurance now.


We've had have an electric razor scooter and a golf cart for outside also.  Both work well also.  

Comment by Rosalie on January 21, 2011 at 4:23pm
Hi we recently discovered that Razor Scooters make a motorized scooter with a seat our son is only 4 but has difficulty with distance fatigues quickly and falls a lot.  We didn't want to get a traditional scooter because his is still so young, and he only will need it in school and for long distance. This scooter comes in 3 sizes S100, s200, and S300.  and is pretty afordable around 250.00 so you don't have to worry about insurance.  Do not know if this was of any help. 
Comment by matt phillips on January 21, 2011 at 1:08pm


like karen said with the scooter vs. w/c its really hard and i am not sure what to really say i would first look at your insurance and see what there time wait is between chairs are some say 4 and then some say 5 years and then need to look at how much he is progressing to the full need of the chair and also you may want to go out and buy the scooter out right and then save insurance for the chair later watch ebay and craigs list both have really good deals on used scooters cheap and it just depends on how the family is doing money wise you may also goto your  mda clinic and see if the loaner closet has one for trial and just see what happens that way to sure wish i had the right answer to tell you hope this dose help tho

Comment by Karen flor on January 20, 2011 at 4:07pm
Hi Shannon....my son started showing signs of tiring faster and falling more around the same age as yours....He's 11 now and still mobile and can spend the whole afternoon playing outside with his friends...I'll pray the same or better results for your son...at 10 we noticed after 2FULL days walking around Disney he needed help..and rented a wheelchair for the rest of our stay....after that we got him a scooter{ wish I had done that a little sooner...instead of nagging him to take rest breaks, having the family or group walk slower to accomodate him, ect....} We got him the pride elite...it breaks down for loading it in the car or traveling....He absolutely LOVES it...He can move through the grocery or target helping me with my purchases in a way he couldn't before...we even took it on a Disney cruise in Oct..and it made his vacation..plus it's small enough that it was easy to deal with.. Check with your insurance....from what our doc told us...our policy only covers a mobility device every 5 years....With his age, she felt it wiser to pay for the scooter out of pocket {about 1200 dollars because I got the stronger battery...I recommend that} so that if he needs a power chair{$35,000} insurance will still be available....Also get your Neuro's input, but remember...no matter how great the doctor..DMD isn't an exact science and varies boy to boy....From what I have been told, power chairs and the vans that go with them can take 6months more or less to process...but if he has the scooter..it should help get him through that wait time!!!  Good luck and let me know if you have more questions..Karen 

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