Mobility assistance

Mobility simply means movement. This page provides you with some practical information about the different kinds of mobility for children with a range of disabilities and developmental delay.

Floor mobility

Floor mobility refers to how a child moves on the floor. It may include the following examples:

  • rolling
  • bottom hitching
  • creeping
  • crawling
  • moving between positions (for example, from lying to sitting, sitting to hands-and-knees position)


Standing and walking

Standing and walking includes:

  • learning to walk sideways along furniture (cruising)
  • walking with help from another person
  • walking with help from equipment such as walkers or crutches
  • walking with the help of splints such as Ankle Foot Orthoses
  • independent walking.

Transfers are about how your child moves from one position to another. Some examples include:

  • sitting on the floor to standing
  • standing to sitting on a chair
  • sitting on the floor to sitting on a chair
  • moving from a wheelchair to the toilet
  • getting in and out of the bath.


Mobility using assistive technology

Being able to move around provides many benefits for children with physical disabilities, even if they require assistive mobility devices or support to do so. These include:

  • independence
  • chances to explore and learn about the world
  • opportunities to move over longer distances
  • ability to move more quickly using less energy
  • opportunities to keep up with friends and to join in activities

Some children may require:

  • special large size strollers and buggies when they outgrow their regular strollers or where special support is needed
  • manual wheelchairs which are wheelchairs where the person in the chair can either push themselves (self propel) or they maybe pushed by a carer for some or all of the time. There are many different types of manual wheelchairs. A physiotherapist can help you find the one that is most suitable for your child.
  • a powered wheelchair which is a wheelchair (with or without special seating support) that has a motor to move it. The motor is powered by batteries and controlled by a variety of means including hand, foot or head controls, depending on the individual’s needs.


Frequently asked questions

How can I help my child to walk?
That depends on the age and developmental stage your child is at. An assessment by a physiotherapist can help determine the recommended intervention or activities that can assist to improve the childs mobility skills.

Can splints help my child to walk?
Splints or orthotics, can help to support the l position and movements of the child’s feet and other joints when standing, moving and walking. Other resting splints such as night splints for ankles and feet, can assist to maintain range of movement. An assessment by a physiotherapist can determine the need for a referral to an orthoptist.

Which wheelchair is best for my child?
That depends on lots of things such as whether they can push themselves, their sitting skills, where it will be used, how it will be transported, and many more. See the Assistive Technolgy Service page for more information.

How can I get my child involved and interested in sport?
There are many ways to find sport and recreation activities that your child might enjoy. Talking to a physiotherapist or occupational therapist can be a good starting point. Novita also have Recreational officers who can assist by providing children with disabilities a link to suitable community sporting groups in the Adelaide metropolitan area. This is the ConnectABILITY program.

If you would like information or free advice, speak to someone in our friendly team on 1300 NOVITA (1300 668 482) or visit our Contact Us page for more ways to get in touch.