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Would it be wrong to buy her a wheelchair

Sleepymrsp Member Posts: 2 Listener
edited December 2019 in Autism and neurodiversity
Hi, my daughter was diagnosed with asd in March. She has a very low pain threshold and pain in her feet has triggered loads of meltdowns and resulted in her running off. 

She's very bright and masks everything so well and seems so "normal" and I'm worried about doing anything that will be harmful to her. We're going to disneyland paris next year and if she struggles with the shopping centre and large supermarkets, I think she will find it painful and exhausting.

There is nothing wrong with her, I've had her joints looked at and gp did blood tests to rule anything out. It literally is that she has this low pain threshold. It seems wrong to put a child who can walk fine in a wheelchair just because her feet hurt!

Basically am I being unreasonable? 


  • Sleepymrsp
    Sleepymrsp Member Posts: 2 Listener
    Just to add, I was thinking about buying a wheelchair so we can use it whenever she's likely to struggle with pain and fatigue. I know we could hire one but I think if it was hers she'd be happier
  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Member Posts: 28,497 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi and welcome,

    I'm one of the community champions here on scope. My opinion is no, you shouldn't buy your daughter a wheelchair because she has a low pain threshold. that would be wrong. You said yourself that there's nothing wrong with her.

    My daughter also has ASD, she's almost 19 and is only 4ft 6" tall and when she walks after a certain length of time she complains her legs hurt. Like yourself, i've had her checked out by her GP, had tests done but they found nothing. I can only assume that because she has such short legs that when she walks her legs ache, which is understandable. I certainly wouldn't buy her a wheelchair to use.

    Other's my think differently but for me, it's a no.
  • April2018mom
    April2018mom Posts: 2,868 Connected
    My son is a full time wheelchair user due to true paraplegia. So if she can walk a bit, tell her to sit down and rest on a bench instead whenever she gets tired. Or only do one area of the theme park on one day and leave other sections for other days.
    How long will you be there for? My daughter has dwarfism and that is what I do when she is really tired. Wheelchairs are not cheap. I had to literally insist on one for my son for other reasons. The overall price was shocking. We went down the private route to getting one. Don’t make a bad decision. 
  • Chloe_Scope
    Chloe_Scope Scope Posts: 10,557 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @Sleepymrsp, I appreciate that this must be a hard decision. How are you getting on at the moment? 
    I am tagging @SparkleSheffieldAutismAdvisors to see if they have anything to add here. :)

  • Geoark
    Geoark Member, Scope Volunteer Posts: 1,384 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @Sleepymrsp

    How old is your daughter, and what are her thoughts on this? It is not unusual for autistic people to struggle with the situations you have described as they can be overstimulated. I would agree with @April2018mom don't try and do too much each day.

    It may be a silly question but have you looked at the type of shoes you buy her? One thing I never compromised for my daughter was the shoes we bought her when she was growing up. It cost us more but having her feet measured properly each time she had new shoes and buying the best we could afford was important enough for me. A lot of problems can be caused by poorly fitting or wrong type of shoes. A decent shoe shop should be able to advise you on these matters.

    I had a friend who was a few years off from retiring but suffered with his back a lot. His employer referred him to OH and it was found he was wearing the the wrong size shoes. It took a while but getting the right size shoes relieved the pain.

    I found out by accident that I was wearing the wrong shoe size and width. I couldn't find my size and so opted for the next size up. I also changed to flexible shoes with a rubber sole. This helped to reduce the impact when walking and while I still suffer with back pain it has not got as bad as it had been previously.

    If you haven't looked at this seriously yet I would suggest checking it out before looking at the more expensive route of a wheelchair. It could also save your daughter a lot of problems later on in life.

    As an individual I stood alone.
    As a member of a group I did things.
    As part of a community I helped to create change!

  • anisty
    anisty Member Posts: 173 Pioneering
    What age is she? Im just wondering if you would get away with a pushchair for the purpose of the trip? When my eldest was 5, we went to disney in orlando (she was just a typical 5, no disabilities at all) but we ended up hiring one of their pushchairs as the heat and size of the parks was very tiring on any young legs! It was handy to put our bags on too.

    She was out of a pushchair before 3 at home but i think the disney ones are pretty big and she fitted in ok. (This was back in 1998 so not sure if they are still big and chunky)
  • laura222
    laura222 Member Posts: 84 Pioneering
    Hi @Sleepymrsp! Nice to meet you!

    That's definitely a toughie. I think it's important to consider overall quality of life; if using a wheelchair will make your daughter happier and enjoy her life more then it seems like a really great option. It's sometimes difficult to see the benefits of using a wheelchair when it is often treated as a negative or 'last resort' but they are definitely there.

    My life has vastly improved since I chose to start using a wheelchair. (I realise that having this choice makes me somewhat privileged!) I use a wheelchair to enjoy different activities; for example I use a chair to go to the supermarket or big shops, I use a powerchair to go around town and go on nature walks with my family and I couldn't be happier! I used to have to just sit these things out and only go places where I knew I wouldn't have to do much walking.

    There's no official list of conditions that mean someone can use a wheelchair. Wheelchairs are a means to improving mobility, function and independence which in turn brings more joy to life!


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