Many people believe that adapting their cars for wheelchair users will be an expensive and time consuming process, but this isn’t always true!
With the right equipment and advice, adapting your vehicle for a wheelchair user can be a relatively simple process, with the amazing reward of having a fully inclusive vehicle at the end of it! Read on to find out how you can adapt your vehicle for a disabled loved one.
1- Understanding requirements
Firstly, and most importantly, in order to adapt your vehicle effectively and successfully, you will need to know exactly what requirements the person you are adapting the vehicle for has. Two people with cerebral palsy, for example, can have two very different requirements based on which parts of their bodies are limited and most capable. Is the person you are adapting the vehicle for able to transfer onto a seat independently? Do they have enough upper body strength to fasten their own seatbelt? Will they need to stay in their wheelchair during car journeys? Discussing and figuring out the answers to these questions will enable you to have a better idea of the correct adaptations for your vehicle.
2- Finding an adaptations manufacturer
Depending on where you live, you may be able to get financial support for adapting your vehicle in an accessible way. Visit your local government website, and find out what help and support you are entitled to. Then, it’s time to find a company that can discuss your adaptation needs with you, and install the correct ones for you! Try googling ‘accessible vehicle adaptation companies in my area’ and give a few of them a call or email. Adapting your vehicle can be quite a daunting process, so it’s important that you feel comfortable working with the company that will be in charge of it.
3- Knowing your budget
If you’re unable to get financial support for your accessible vehicle adaptations, there are ways that you can successfully adapt your vehicle and make it more accessible for a fraction of the price. For example, a seat that electronically turns in the car can be very expensive, but this Hardcastle swivel cushion does a very similar thing for only £10! It may take some time, but it is worth looking for cheaper products that can help disabled people and make their journeys easier, whilst also enabling you to save some money!
4- Keeping up to date with technology
There are amazing accessible transport and travel products coming onto the market all the time. Look out for them; they might be designed for the specific impairment that the wheelchair user has, and able to hugely change their ability to transfer, balance, fasten a seatbelt or sit comfortably in the car.
5- Enjoying the result
The fifth and final top tip to give you is… have fun once the adaptations are made! An accessible vehicle can have such a positive impact on a disabled person’s life, and make experiences all the richer when the panic and stress of using public transport is lifted. We hope this article has helped you to feel a little more confident about the accessible vehicle adaptation process, and we wish you luck in your journey!