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We have found out today that it is likely that a child will start our Nursery in September who will be in a wheelchair. Does anyone have children in similar circumstances? Any tips on how to make this work well, both for us and the child?

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Has one a while ago in a pre-school , some will depend on reason for wheelchair.


we found not being able to get wheelchair close enough to work at table, some are ok but the one we had needed a table on the wheelchair.

movement around the room, toys on floor being an obstacle as well as chairs left out and room between tables, usual ramps for access, movement outside if you have grassed area, we did.

Children, teaching them that being in a wheelchair does not mean they cannot do other things, some of ours constantly tried to do everything for him, took a while to teach them it was not necessary and he could do lots for himself. They seemed to think he was a 'baby' until they got to know him.


its a long while ago now so must be more.



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I had a child in a wheelchair we are a new building so the only thing we really needed to do was look at the lay out of the rooms ensuring there was enough space to get the whhelchair round tables and chairs. You may also need to look at height of tables, disabled tolieting facilities, fire evacuation procedure will one person be responsible for ensuring the wheelchair dependent child is evacuated, you may also wish to look at access to outside play is it a grassed or concrete area is it whhelchair accessible. I am sure you have thought about most of these points but here is a link to a goverment website with advice on helping disabled equality caring for a disabled child

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It depends entirely on the needs of the child and what their abilities are. For instance I have worked with children who have profound and multiple learning diifficulties in a chair whom you would deal differently to say a child who has physical difficulties in a chair. Find as much information as possibe before they start. You will disabled changing facilities, manual handling training. Sand and water trays are a common problem because the bars across them often stop a wheel chair getting close. Space to move between activities. Perhaps they can use a standing frame or a walker. A key person who can help them to access all the activities.

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Thanks for all your comments, hadn't thought about things like sand and water trays!

4 people from outside agencies came to visit today, so have discussed most of these issues.

We have lifts and ramps but toilet is a big issue as ours are not wide enough. Hopefully she will recieve 1 to 1 support, but may not be full time, I know that she can stand for limited period with frame, but cannot take a step.

One of my worries is the movement around the Nursery, the floor is constantly covered with construction toys and space is very tight! I think there will be lots of re-organisation needed!

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  • 4 weeks later...

I've been supporting a child in an electric wheelchair (makes a difference) within our reception class for the passed year.He is incontinent with no upper body strength with a life limiting condition but is as bright as a button and a real joker.The family moved authority to specialist housing but our authority doesn't recognise his statement so the assessment has had to start again :o no support-no additional funding.


What we did-

Class rule number one-push a chair under when you move away.We awarded stickers intitially and its automatic to the children now.

Planned the layout of the room to create 'safe tracts' where floor toys would not be.We took the measurements of his chair and got a cardboard box and moved it around the room to see where he could and could not access when we set up the room.

We got a 'lap' tray one of those with beans in that can be propped up and settled level on unlevel places.

He uses a cat litter tray and plastic spoon for the sand but at the sand pit with his tray balanced on the edge and his chair arms.Similair thing with water.Tabard apron.

We involve the children with his physio exercises.

Bought some lightweight specialist small apperatus for PE and outside play and made it constant provision

Provided him with felt tips for mark making as he can't apply pressure.(he does the best and most detailed paintings and drawings and he was the first to form all the letters of his name correctly)

White boards have also been good for him.

Told him off when he's deserved it!! (same behaviour rules apply)

We put him pumps on for PE

He queues in turn with the other children for lunch and only then is a chair moved-no special place

For safe reasons he's always 1st or last so he doesn't run anyone over whenever the class lines up but we vary it

He has a flag to lift/wave slightly to indicate he wants to answer a group time question as he can't raise an arm.


It's not stopped a few broken toys and my bruised toes but its been the most uplifting and rewarding thing integrating him that I've had in my career.

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What an uplifting tale you tell Biccy. I especially liked the bit about telling him off when necessary - this is real inclusion, isn't it? We have a little girl with additional needs who has just begun to 'assert herself' after almost three years with us and it is a joy to have the need to remind her of our rules for acceptable behaviour every now and then. It shows the real progress she has made!


Thank you for the hints and tips you offer - we have a little girl who will be having an operation next year and will be in a wheelchair for a short spell. She'll be in a hip-brace type plaster which will mean she won't be able to sit in a chair so we'll need to look at buying some new bean bags to 'prop her up with' according to mum.


I feel you've helped me identify some areas to think about without having to do any thinking myself - so thanks for getting me going!



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