Impacts of early powered mobility provision on disability identity: A case study.

Background/Purpose: Providing powered mobility technology to people with disabilities is a common rehabilitation practice. However, the relationship between powered mobility introduction and identity development, when considered in the context of lived experiences of children with disabilities and their families, is not well understood. Investigating this relationship is timely given the emergence of alternative, community-based early mobility opportunities using adapted mobility toys whose impact may contrast experiences using powered wheelchairs typically provided in rehabilitation settings. Method: Using a qualitative, ethnographic case study approach, in-depth interview and field observation data were collected with 2 children and families, 1 who received a traditional powered wheelchair and the other who received an adapted mobility toy. A grounded theory approach guided the data analysis, and emerging themes were discussed until consensus was reached between Heather Feldner and families. Results: Findings revealed four themes: (1) dys/function of mobility technology; (2) daily Life, play, and participation; (3) emerging self/advocacy; and (4) complex family/industry interplay. Conclusion: Similarities and differences were present within the situated experiences of each family. Experiences were foregrounded by instances of emerging identity development throughout provision processes that were influenced by caregiver perceptions of disability (positive vs. negative), aesthetics and function (medical vs. adventure), and perceived intent of the devices (an opportunity for freedom vs. prolonging need for undesired mobility equipment). These findings highlight the varied dynamics and spheres of influence this transaction may have on the developing identity of children with disabilities, which may ultimately help inform future models of provision and rehabilitation practices. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved)