Effects of a powered mobility summer camp as perceived by school staff: a qualitative study

Lori Rosenberg*, Ruth Cohen, Adina Maeir, Yafit Gilboa

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Purpose: Powered mobility has a positive effect on social skills, self-esteem and overall development of children with motor impairments, but almost all previous studies were conducted with pre-school children. The aim of this study was to explore change beyond mobility following a therapeutic powered mobility summer camp for school-aged children and adolescents with severe cerebral palsy, as perceived by school staff. Materials and methods: The participants in the therapeutic camp, which ran for 3 weeks, 5 days a week, three times over the summers 2018–2019, were children ages 7–19 (median age 11) with severe cerebral palsy who needed assistance in mobility and had limited hand function. Following the intervention, 19 semi-structured audio-recorded interviews were conducted with school staff, then transcribed and thematically analyzed using an inductive qualitative descriptive design with a phenomenological theoretical framework. Results: Four overarching themes were identified: (1) “Every step you take: mastering new, sometimes unexpected, skills”, (2) “Break on through to the other side: changes in behaviour”, (3) “Make new friends (but keep the old): Boosting social behaviour” and (4) “I’m a believer: The journey through self-efficacy to empowerment”. Conclusions: The interviews showed the immediate positive influence of powered mobility for children who previously did not have independent mobility, following an intensive intervention. Changes in initiative, empowerment, social relationships and behaviour highlight the importance of self-generated mobility, regardless of whether independence was achieved. School-aged children with severe cerebral palsy seem to benefit from an intensive powered mobility intervention in areas other than mobility skills themselves.IMPLICATIONS FOR REHABILITATION Powered mobility intervention seems to encourage activity and initiation among children and youth with severe CP. This research adds to the understanding of the effect powered mobility can have on social interaction and communication. Powered mobility might be a means to allow development, in addition to being an important end.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)783-790
Number of pages8
JournalDisability and Rehabilitation: Assistive Technology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Aug 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • Qualitative research
  • developmental disabilities
  • empowerment
  • paediatric
  • wheelchairs


Dive into the research topics of 'Effects of a powered mobility summer camp as perceived by school staff: a qualitative study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this