Mobility issues can afflict anyone at any age, however, whether due to genetic conditions or injury, and this is far from uncommon: Estimates are that about 200 million young people worldwide are struggling with reduced mobility.
Young people with disabilities that reduce their mobility and require a wheelchair or cane assistance not only deal with all of the typical issues their older peers deal with, but also many additional psychological and emotional issues, making their experience much more intense in many ways, and much more likely to affect their overall social development.
Children born with disabilities that reduce their mobility are often met with disappointment and grief on the part of their families, and even the best-intentioned family can often let those feelings of grief affect their long-term attitude towards the children in subtle but powerful ways. Children with mobility issues are often raised with constant reminders of their “limitations” that convince them they cannot compete on a level playing ground in life, even if their mental capabilities are unaffected.
Children with mobility issues also commonly face intense discrimination both on the part of society and more brutally and emotionally from other children. It’s not uncommon at all for children with mobility issues to be ostracised from their local peers due to the typical concentration on physical activities and sports among children. Even if treated kindly by everyone, the inability to take part in the typical sporting activities shared by their peers can inhibit relationships and social development.
One significant challenge for youth dealing with mobility issues concerns their physical development. Children grow and develop rapidly, and a lack of physical exercise or other movement can severely impact their overall health and growth into adulthood. This can affect muscle development, cardiovascular and respiratory health, and psychological aspects associated with physical movement and mobility. Difficulties in getting outside into fresh air and sunlight can contribute to depression and other mental issues that then affect every other aspect of the youth’s life, from their academic performance to their overall psychological profile.
A heavy financial and emotional burden can also be seen in the difficulties in keeping up with growth spurts, often requiring new fittings for canes or braces that assist with walking and even wheelchairs that must be adjusted or replaced. The seemingly endless nature of such adjustments can be financially difficult for families and psychologically challenging for youths who don’t wish to be reminded — or to see others reminded — of their limitations.
In the end, younger people dealing with mobility issues may have greater challenges to deal with than adults with similar issues. Adults have had a lifetime to develop social and mental skills useful in adapting to a mobility-challenged lifestyle, and often have the emotional and financial resources to make accommodations in their lives, whereas youth are perceived as more resilient due to their youth but may in fact be much less equipped to deal with mobility issues. Care must be taken with younger people suffering from disabilities that affect their mobility to help them with their special needs in this area.
This advice comes from the team at Mobility Solutions, Scotland’s largest mobility store. They offer the latest in disability aids and mobility products and are regularly writing to raise awareness of ways for the elderly to manage mobility issues. Connect with Mobility Solutions on Facebook or Twitter.