Transferring can be defined as an individual moving themselves out of their wheelchair and onto another surface. In the scope of this project, we are looking at individuals transferring themselves into a sport chair, as well as onto the ground, and then back into their day wheelchair. This skill has many long term daily uses, from hygiene to transportation.
From chair to chair
Transferring from an everyday chair to a sports chair (that doesn't have brakes) should involve securing the everyday chair and bracing the sports chair. Make sure the straps on the sports chairs won't get in the way once the transfer has been made. The transfer should be done by placing the two chairs head to head. Next grab the front of both frames with opposite hands. Push up on the hand secured on the sports chair and quickly, but in control, swing your bum over the cushion and into the seat. The facilitator should be there as a spotter to ensure this is done safely. The child should practice this at home from their chair or from other chairs.
From chair to floor and back
For stronger children, transferring to the floor and back will be very useful for a number of activities. There is no one way to do this other than to try with assistance to begin with and to gradually figure out the best way that works for that individual. Some people like to go side by side with the chair with their knees propped up and grab the far side of the front of the frame to lift themselves up. As they lift up, they slowly move the chair towards themselves and then underneath.
A second technique is to try and go head on. Grabbing the front part of the frame with each hand, crawl up the chair to the point where the bum has cleared the cushion before quickly spinning into the seat.
Learning to Fall
Despite the design of the chair (fifth wheel and camber), falling down while strapped in will occaionally happen. It is usually no big deal if you prepare yourself first. Unlike falling down while walking, tipping over while in a chair usually takes a longer time giving the child the opportunity to reach an arm out to soften the blow when going to the side. Falling backwards is difficult to do with the fifth wheel but should it happen, the child should immediately assume the curled up position and tuck their chin in. The design of the chair allows the backrest to hit the floor first so the children do not bump their heads.
Check out this fun video of some elite athletes getting up off the floor!