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Alternative drive control

Alternative drive control

Our alternative drive control program provides kids with opportunities to experience different styles of power mobility – and gain a new level of independence.  

We serve a range of individuals, including many first-time users just learning how to effectively drive a wheelchair with a joystick. Others may have struggled with the standard joystick and can benefit from trying alternative drive control options – including a variety of switch and drive controls. 

Our process starts with a comprehensive evaluation, where our occupational and physical therapist and our external partner assess your child and their needs. Over the next seven weeks, we work with your child during trials to determine their potential to safely operate a power wheelchair.  

Research tells us that connecting kids to the right power mobility option at the earliest stage is essential.

Without some type of independent mobility, children may develop learned helplessness and experience delays. To start, your child makes great gains in independence, but this can also help improve psychosocial development and enable them into productive, integrated members of their community. Mobility should be effortless and provide children with the opportunity to attend to and fulfill daily tasks. 

Go Baby Go Program 

Another option for early supported mobility is Go Baby Go. This program includes modifying commercially available ride-on cars by adapting the wiring and adding switches and seating/safety. The program helps to introduce early power mobility training and closes the disparity between “best practice” and “current practices,” due to factors that limit the availability of power wheelchairs for infants/toddlers. Our Go Baby Go program includes assessment, the car build and the final product giveaway. 

We can work together to give your child the power of mobility

We receive a majority of AT referrals from physicians, school systems and employers, but families can also make a self-referral. Call 804-228-5985 to register. We’ll send you an intake packet to complete. We need important information including medical and educational history, as well as applicable home, school and work environments. Evaluations are based out of the Brook Road Campus, but treatment is also available at our therapy centers.  

Watch Kate navigate an obstacle course with her new alt drive controls!

This unique program provides many participants with opportunities to experience power wheelchair mobility with a level of independence that they might not have otherwise achieved.


Meet the team

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Samantha K Burch, MEd, CCC-SLP
Samantha Burch MEd, CCC-SLP Speech therapy
Assistive technology
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Michelle L Froede, DPT
Michelle Froede DPT Physical therapy
Assistive technology
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Andrea Ralston Harris, MOT
Andrea Harris MOT Occupational therapy
Assistive technology
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