An Alternative to Wheelchairs – Buying A Foldaway Scoota

Wanting to be in control of my mobility instead of relying on others has lead me to seek a way to do this.

Starting some months ago I researched what would help me in my quest. I went to every Mobility shop web site I could find to see what was on offer.

I had no real criteria. What I wanted was a way around being pushed in a wheelchair or trying to go afar with an unwieldy heavy power chair. Next option was a power scooter, again too heavy & unwieldy. My 18yr old son hates pushing me in my wheel chair, I know he gets embarrassed when I try to get him to place me in position to see in shops & stores. I also get embarrassed trying to navigate a big power chair in tiny aisles & knocking into racks and shelving.

So what to do? Looking through pages and pages on web sites I had no joy, I’m not sure now how I came to find the solution I sought, it’s lost in mists and blurs of links and open browser windows.

FINALLY there was the answer I had spent all that time looking for \o/ – a neat and compact electric scooter that fits in the boot of your car. I read all the info, saw the limits & the advantages – this was for me.

My phone was in my hand before you could say scooter. I spoke to the man who had developed this product, he was a nice guy & went to a lot of trouble to explain everything about his scooter, trouble was it was still in development and not available to the public until the summer 2001. :-((
I was almost there. I resigned to wait and left my phone number, e-mail, fax, pager, mobile and NI number just to be sure he would contact me. ;-))

So now it’s June and nearly midsummer, no sign of my goal in site, so I e-mailed Mr scooter man for a progress report, no answer was the loud reply. A close friend knowing all about this little saga decided to do some research on their own, unbeknown to me a lot of e-mails went out and 1 reply came back – a brand new foldaway ‘Scoota’ was available on the market!

I phoned the shop straight away, and with the web site picture in front of me I asked the technical question – HOW MUCH? Just so happened that a special deal was on in order to promote the product. Having really checked the spec’s with the shop and knowing the limitations of what it should be used for, I placed my order.

Just my luck, a slight delay in the delivery due to H.M Customs, never mind, I waited this long 3 more days won’t kill me? Monday evening the ‘Scoota’ arrives! If I said dinky you would get the idea of how small and compact this machine is! I couldn’t believe my eyes, where’s the battery? I asked, (expecting a 12v car battery), two compact tandam batteries ran under the floor board – I was told.

Gob smacked, I took delivery.

I read the manual over dinner, nothing complicated all so easy. First things first, charge the batteries-(can’t go anywere without!) it took a few hours until green light glowed bright to show fully charged. Well it was bedtime so no TT race today.
Tuesday morning and my first thought was where can I charge off to on my ‘Scoota’, I didn’t have chance to find out, the best I managed was down the hall out onto the front path, turned around and back again, feeling like a circus clown driving with something so small. In fact it was the Saturday before my chance came to test the diddy ‘Scoota’.

Saturday. ‘Scoota’ placed in car boot, drive down to the promenade, unfold, leathers shining, helmet on, gloves on, white silk scarf flapping. Set variable speed control from ‘Snail’ to ‘Tortoise’, the moment of truth, turn key in ignition, slowly pull back on control.

The ‘Scoota’ took up the slack & was off at walking pace, I felt the wind on my face as I rolled along, this was what I had waited for all week.

It just so happened that the annual MC races where taking place along stretches of the promenade, spectators were walking along to watch the race, 100’s of large motor cycles made my ‘Scoota’ look like a foot rest compared to their large size.

As I rolled along next to big burly bikers decked in leather suits I could see the jealousy in their eyes as they double looked at my mode of transport and a wry smile came to their faces.

For my first time out I had enjoyed the day, I look forward to many more hassle free days out with my trusty steed.

Home modifications: accessible spaces and facilities

The following sites are great for finding information about the
American Disability Act (ADA) guidelines for your home or business.
It is extremely important  and beneficial when constructing a home or
building, for measurements to meet ADA requirements,
especially when a family member or employee is disabled.  Keep in
mind that that all of the measurements given, are the “minimum”
required.  Doorway and hallway widths will vary depending upon the
size of the individual and/or the width  of their wheelchair.

Key things to remember:
• Entry and exits should be barrier-free (eliminate stairs, use ramps, and keep threshold heights at a minimum).
• When building a ramp, remember that for every inch of vertical height you need  to have a foot length in ramp (For example:  18 inches of height requires a ramp of  18 feet in length).  Ramps need to have level landings at the bottom and top of every ramp.  If a ramp exceeds 30 feet in length, a landing needs to be made at the bottom/top connecting to the remaining ramp length.
• Flooring in the home should be flat and smooth to ease mobility in a wheelchair (wood, tile, linoleum, and commercial are good suggestions).
• Hallways should be wide enough to allow an individual in a wheelchair to turn around with ease of needed.
HINT:  If it is not possible to make your entire home wheelchair accessible,
make the pathway between bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, family room,
and at least one entrance/exit into your home accessible.

Home modifications and family tips

This bathroom was built large enough to accommodate movement of a large wheelchair.
Lower towel racks and a roll-to sink make it much easier to use for an individual with disabilities.

Use a lawn chair in the shower or tub (with plastic webbing and arms) to assist caregiver with the person’s bathing.
Penny- Omaha, NE 19 year old multi-handicapped twin women

A pocket-door is helpful in the bathroom.
Donna P.- Omaha, NE 21 year old son with Cerebral Palsy

A shower seat that folds up against the wall is helpful for a bathroom that is shared with non-disabled person. (see picture “Fold out shower chair”)
Donna P.- Omaha, NE 21 year old son with Cerebral Palsy

Install a fiberglass shower stall that has the grab-bars molded into the wall rather than having to install grab-bars on one’s own.
Donna P.- Omaha, NE 21 year old son with Cerebral Palsy

Install a “governor” (a device that maintains a safe temperature range) onto the plumbing of your sink and shower to mix the hot and cold waters together to prevent injury. This will also help in curtailing injuries to the legs when a person “wheels” up to the sink and touches a too hot pipe.
Tom Q.- Omaha, NE 18 year old woman with Cerebral Palsy

Install a double showerhead unit into the shower to ease the person in self-bathing. Otherwise, use the single showerhead unit but with extension tubing and two holders placed at different heights.
Tom Q.- Omaha, NE 18 year old woman with Cerebral Palsy

This bathroom was built large enough to accommodate movement of a large wheelchair.
Lower towel racks and a roll-to sink make it much easier to use for an individual with disabilities.
A wheelchair friendly bedroom is set up with ample room to maneuver around.
The room is set up so that everything can be accessed from the middle of the room.

The window seat in the rear provides a great place to go when the person wants to take a break from their wheelchair.

Use egg crate foam on top of mattresses to soften the bed and allow for pressure relief.
Penny- Omaha, NE 19 year old multi-handicapped twin woman

Place glow-in-the-dark stars or other objects on the ceiling or walls for nighttime stimulation when the person cannot sleep.
Penny- Omaha, NE 19 year old multi-handicapped twin women

Place pictures or posters on the ceiling of person’s room for visual stimulation while lying in bed.
Penny- Omaha, NE 19 year old multi-handicapped twin women

Add a grab bar inside the closet (i.e. using PVC pipe secured onto two 2×4’s on the door frame) for the person to hold onto while pulling clothes off the hanger. Using PVC pipe will allow the bar to “grow” in height/length as the person grows.
Tom Q.- Omaha, NE 18 year old woman with Cerebral Palsy

Many times those of us who are not in wheelchairs do not recognize the many things we take for granted.
This photo illustrates how special arrangements were made to lower the windows so the person with disabilities could see out of the window, too.

Notice the hand controls (crank) for the window are at the bottom of the window where the person can reach them.

Providing a person with control over their environment is an important aspect of empowerment.

Use egg crate foam on top of mattresses to soften the bed and allow for pressure relief.
Penny- Omaha, NE 19 year old multi-handicapped twin women

Place glow-in-the-dark stars or other objects on the ceiling or walls for nighttime stimulation when the person cannot sleep.
Penny- Omaha, NE 19 year old multi-handicapped twin women

Place or posters on the ceiling of person’s room for visual stimulation while lying in bed.
Penny- Omaha, NE 19 year old multi-handicapped twin women

Add a grab bar inside the closet (i.e. using PVC pipe secured onto two 2×4’s on the door frame) for the person to hold onto while pulling clothes off the hanger. Using PVC pipe will allow the bar to “grow” in height/length as the person grows.
Tom Q.- Omaha, NE 18 year old woman with Cerebral Palsy