This past Easter weekend we went to my parent’s home which is essentially a year round cottage on a lake. Needless to say we had a great weekend and on Easter Sunday after indulging in a few yummy chocolates we decided to take advantage of the sun that was shining and go for a walk on one of the rail bed trails. Now most people with a disabled child, especially one that doesn’t walk well or at all, wouldn’t even consider such an activity for most wheelchair’s can’t handle this type of terrain, as you can see the trail still had snow on it, but where there is a will, there is a way and our way is the Wike which is what you see in the picture above. We bought the Wike over 5 years ago after seeing another family with a daughter with Rett Syndrome use it. Instantly we fell in love with it for we saw its potential benefit in allowing us to continue with many of the activities we previously enjoyed – walking/running/biking.
The company behind the Wike is Canadian and they are located in Guelph, Ontario but I believe they ship all over the world. They manufacture quite an array of different type of strollers and trailers and due to overwhelming demand in years gone by they have created a couple of special needs trailers. The only difference that I can see between a special needs trailer and a regular trailer for a typical child is the size. Essentially they have built two sizes of trailers that will accommodate individuals with special needs up to their adult years. We bought the large one as the height max was 5’4″ and didn’t think Reilly would grow much beyond this in her later years and also half expected that later in her life we would have to buy a new one anyways. They also have an X-Large that can accommodate a passenger up to 5’10”. Our trailer has been big enough that we have sometimes put both girls side by side in the seat without any issues. Well maybe that is not completely true. Reilly sometimes gets a little too cozy and curls up to her sister much to her sister’s chagrin.
Based on our lifestyle needs, we purchased the options so we could either walk, run or bike with it. Our Wike is well loved and has seen quite a bit of terrain, including camping expeditions, numerous biking day trips, walks to the park, and various venues. Because of its size it is not ideal to take into stores but it does fold down easily and compactly so you don’t need a minivan to transport it.
Although the Wike provides a harness system we don’t use it but Reilly does have slumping/slouching issues so we eventually bought the seat wedge and two bolsters that make her sit up right. We sometimes will need to put a blanket rolled up to one side of her to improve her posture further but I guess we could purchase another two bolsters from the company and/or try the harness for additional support.
The most important thing about the Wike is that Reilly loves to be in it. It is roomy and offers a lot of protection from the elements by taking advantage of the bug or the rain barrier cover. It is also big enough that we can put some of her toys in with her, or music or sometimes the ipad with one of her favourite movies playing.
I know some people might look at the price tag which is close to $1000 CDN with all the little extras as too big too swallow but I can almost guarantee that you will have this trailer for several years and when you amortize the purchase price over 7-8 years minimum and then add in the intangible benefit of being able to include your loved one in your active lifestyle, it is more than affordable. I don’t get a commission on any purchases of the Wike nor am I affiliated with this company in any capacity.
My goals with this post are simple:
To spread the word that there is a cool trailer out there that others would love if they only knew about it and to to eliminate any excuses for families to stay active together.
Whether you use this trailer or something similar, just imagine the message you are sending to your other children (if you have others), other family members, friends and/or the public at large that witness you being active with your loved one that you are not letting the disability obstacle stand in your way of living a great life. You are pushing (or pulling) beyond boundaries that are often self-created and the power in knowing you are actively challenging them will give you further motivation to try and experience other things!
Note: I recognize that some loved ones with special needs are medically fragile or have other considerations where being in a trailer is not appropriate but this message is for those that don’t fall into this category.