Concept: Equipment for Disabled Children
Who are disabled children?
- Children who live with a disability are called disabled children.
- They can study at both regular and special schools.
- These children are often discriminated against at school, so a proper educational environment, support, and care are necessary.
Types of disabilities:
Why do disabled children use assistive or supportive equipment?
- Assistive equipment helps children live independently.
- These assistive aids give them proper support and enforce their participation in routine activities like other children.
- Modern digital assistive technologies are constantly helping them become self-dependant and reducing the responsibilities of long-term caregivers.
1. Equipment for blind children:
- Braille was invented by a French educator named Louis Braille, who was a blind man.
- He coded messages with dots with specific phonics and embossed those on cardboard.
- The Braille system is accepted worldwide.
- Blind and children with low vision can use this system.
- A braille script is made with raised dots, and the dots are arranged in two columns and three rows.
- Children can read braille scripts through touch sensation.
b) White Stick:
- A white stick, also known as a mobility cane, is used for smooth mobility.
- These sticks are white so that the blind person using them can be easily identified.
- These are foldable sticks and easy to carry.
- The primary function of these sticks is to scan obstacles on the road.
c) Speciality Sunglasses:
- These are specially made sunglasses for the blind.
- The eyesight of blind children is more sensitive than that of normal children.
- Airborne dust particles and pollen grains may irritate their eyes. Speciality sunglasses act as a protective barrier for the eyes.
- These glasses also protect the eyes from harsh sun rays.
d) Speciality watches:
- Different types of speciality watches are available in the market.
- Blind children can use braille watches to check the time through touch sensations.
- Some watches come with glass lids so the time can be checked by touching minute and hour hands.
- Talking watches are more expensive, but blind children also use those. There are electronic digital watches that give information about time and weather.
2. Equipment for lame and disabled children:
- Children who are unable to walk use wheelchairs to move from one place to another.
- These chairs are made of four wheels and a seating surface.
- Wheelchairs can be of two types—manually powered and electric powered.
- These chairs have two large wheels at the back, which help to propel the equipment and maintain balance.
- Two small wheels are present in the front. These wheels are called caster wheels that help to change directions.
b) Wheeled walker:
- Wheeled walkers are used by kids who suffer from poor balance or have difficulty walking.
- If a lame child has weak elbows, they cannot balance their body using a walking stick. So, a walker with armrests is used.
- A simple low-level walker is helpful if the child can control his body correctly.
- If the child cannot balance their body, walkers with underarm supports are used.
c) Underarm crutch:
- Crutches are also called walking sticks or balancing canes.
- Lame children with good balancing ability can use crutches for movement.
- Children with weak elbow muscles use underarm crutches.
- These crutches come with a balancing stick and soft padded underarm support.
d) Below elbow crutch:
- Children with good balancing ability and strong elbow muscles are given this equipment.
- These crutches also have gripping objects attached to them, which is why strong wrist muscles are also necessary for these aids.
e) Prosthetic limbs:
- An artificial leg or hand is called a prosthetic limb.
- It is used when a child has lost their limb due to an accident or disease.
- The missing body part is replaced by an artificial limb.
- These limbs are also used after surgical amputation.
- Prosthetic limbs are made of light metals and attached to the body by suction.
- A ramp is an inclined plane that facilitates the movements of wheelchairs.
- Nowadays, ramps are installed in schools, offices, shopping malls, airports, etc.
- A disabled child cannot climb staircases, but ramps can help him reach upstairs.
- He can take help from others who can push his wheelchair from downstairs to upstairs.
3. Equipment for deaf children:
a) Hearing aid:
- Children who have deafness and partial hearing loss use this equipment.
- A hearing aid amplifies sounds so that the person using it can hear the noise loudly.
- It is a detachable aid that is placed on ears when needed.
b) Cochlear implants:
- Cochlear implants are used for people who have complete deafness.
- It is an electronic device that is surgically implanted.
- Children suffering from inner ear damage can use this equipment.
4. Equipment for dumb children:
a) Artificial tongue:
- An artificial tongue is made with a rubber-like material.
- Those who cannot speak properly due to improper tongue structure can use this equipment.
- This tongue is surgically attached to the mouth.
b) Sign language training modules:
- Sign language training programmes are very crucial for kids who cannot speak.
- With the help of sign language, they can express their feelings.
- These modules are readily available in markets that help them to learn different hand positions to express feelings.
Airborne: Substances carried by air like dust particles, pollen grains, etc.
Amputation: The surgical procedure to cut off a limb is called amputation.
Did You Know?
- Digital smart glasses allow visually impaired children to see and help in mobilisation without obstacles.
- Lame children use parallel bars to practice walking and for walk therapy.