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Giving Kids Under 5 Their First Set of Powered Wheels for Free

young girl riding a wizzybug with dog in the background

This post has been written by Fiona Cromwell, Marketing Officer at Designability.

What is a Wizzybug?

A Wizzybug is a fun, powered wheelchair which has been designed by the UK charity Designability. We research and develop assistive technology and products for people living with disabilities and long term health conditions.

The Wizzybug was first created in 2007 in response to the lack of powered mobility that appealed to young children. Although we had already engineered some infant and junior ‘bugs’, they were sit astride models which weren’t suitable for disabled children to become fully mobile.

behind the scenes shot of Wizzy in workshop

Behind the scenes shot of Wizzy in workshop

So, we planned to make a new and improved model by working closely with occupational therapists, physiotherapists and, most importantly, families, to ensure that the Wizzybug met the needs of children under 5. After some tweaks to the final design and home trials had been completed, the Wizzybug we know and love today was ready.

The Wizzybug Loan Scheme

It soon became apparent that purchasing something like a Wizzybug would be another costly expense for families. So, we started fundraising in order to be able to provide Wizzybugs to families free of charge across the country. In 2011, the Wizzybug Loan Scheme was launched and we have been giving them to children aged between 14 months and 5 years ever since.

There are many benefits to children who experience early years powered mobility: spatial awareness, interaction with their peers, freedom of movement and the huge amount of independence that it offers to a child who used to be unable to choose where they go and when.

Oscar loves his Wizzybug very much. His mum told us:

oscar smiling in his wizzybug

Oscar smiling in his Wizzybug

“Wizzybug has given Oscar the independence he never had. He used to watch his cousins run about while stuck in his pushchair, but now he can zoom off with them! He has grown in confidence since getting his Wizzybug, both at home and at nursery. He is finally able to follow his friends during all the different activities they get up to. He enjoys telling everyone that it is his Wizzybug and he does the driving!”

Oscar has had the help of lots of other assistive technology since he was born, but nothing else compares. It’s the first non-medical looking piece of equipment that has changed all of our lives, especially his, for the better.

To date, we have helped nearly 700 families and have built over 400 Wizzybugs for the UK loan scheme. The beauty of each one is that it can be refurbished up to three times when it is returned to us at the end of each loan.

Find out more

Visit the Wizzybug pages on our website to learn more about these wonderful powered wheelchairs.

If you know a young child who could benefit from a Wizzybug, please get in touch with our occupational therapy team on 01225 824103 or email wizzybug@designability.org.uk

You will also find Wizzybugs out on the road at some upcoming Kidz to Adultz exhibitions:

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