8-year-old George Lockley from Welwyn Garden City enjoys living life to the full and this is partly thanks to his Piccolino Paravan powered wheelchair from Precision Rehab.

George (who has a twin brother Harry) and a younger sister Abby, was born with Spinal Muscular Atrophy Type 2.  As new-born’s, both twins appeared perfectly healthy but as they approached their first birthday, their parents noticed that George’s development had appeared to plateau compared to Harry’s and following numerous tests and assessments, George was diagnosed with SMA Type 2.

“George’s condition means his muscles are extremely weak and he will never be able to stand or walk and he has therefore been reliant on manual and powered wheelchairs from the age of two” explained Liz, George’s mother.  In early 2018, the family decided the time had come to replace George’s powered wheelchair as he needed a larger chair with features not available on his existing model.

The family attended several exhibitions to see what was available and George tried 4 or 5 different models.  “The Piccolino from Precision Rehab had been suggested to me by a couple of mothers’ who also have children with SMA Type 2 and as soon as we met Matt and George saw the Piccolino for himself he loved it.  As George uses the chair for everything, we believe he should get the chair he wants – as long as it also meets all his requirements” continued Liz.

In early May, Matt visited George at home to conduct a full assessment to ensure the chair would meet all George’s individual needs.  “When Matt visited us with the demo chair, I was really impressed with the way he worked with George, he did not try and push the chair onto George but let him explore the chair and work out all the features for himself and took the time to answer all George’s questions – of which there were quite a few!!!”

As soon as the family had secured the necessary funding Liz got in touch with Matt to order George’s chair which was delivered in November.

“George’s Piccolino is the best chair he has ever had.  The service from Precision Rehab has been second to none and I would not hesitate in recommending them to any parent looking for a powered wheelchair for their child.  The chair has changed our lives as a family as we can now do so much more together and George is happier and more confident than ever.  For example, we recently took part in an inclusive 5K event in Windsor with George in his chair, Harry on his bike and me trying (badly!) to keep up with them on foot”.

As any parent of a child with a disability will know, toileting when out and about can often be difficult for all concerned as their child gets older and heavier due to the lack of good disabled toilets with adequate space and equipment and while the changing places facilities are great there are still not that many.  However, thanks to George’s Piccolino being able to adjust to a horizontal position, it practically converts into a changing table which makes it much easier to help George with his toileting.  George also hates missing out on any lesson time at school and thanks to this feature on the chair, the changing process is much quicker for staff to complete and George is only out of class for a few minutes.

IMG_7767 “It has been such a pleasure to help George and his family.  As with many Piccolino powered wheelchairs, we tailored George’s to meet his exact requirements including moving the joystick from left to right, fitting a different seat belt and custom lower leg length.  We also fitted additional lateral supports to provide George with increased postural support as he is quite slim for his height.  George also wanted black upholstery on the seating with red stitching and this was also provided” commented Matt James, Director, Precision Rehab.

The Lockley family love to enjoy days out and to help make this as hassle free as possible, Precision Rehab also arranged for a crash tested Paravan automatic vehicle docking system (fitted by Steering developments Limited) to be installed in their vehicle.  This system ensures George’s chair can be simply and easily secured within the vehicle.

With seat widths of 270 – 430 mm, a depth of 320 – 385 mm, and back height of 400 – 480 mm combined with side supports, head support and other seat accessories all of which are multi variable and individually adjustable the Piccolino is a truly versatile powered wheelchair which can meet the needs of young powered wheelchair users.

As George and his friends grow, he wants to be able to talk to them face to face and with the Piccolino’s rise function he can do this whenever he wants.  “My new chair is brilliant, it is so comfortable.  I love the way it goes up and down and flat and being able to see how fast I am going on the screen is great.  I also love the headlights” commented George.