Quadriplegic Dresses In Wheelchair

4.19.2019
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Curated by
Hope Johnson
Content via More Than Walking
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More Than Walking
Curated by
Hope Johnson

Jonathan Sigworth, a C7 quadriplegic, demonstrates how he dresses his lower extremities independently while sitting in his wheelchair. 

First, Jonathan sits in his wheelchair and scoots forward while balancing, which he states gives him greater stability.   He already has his clothes on a table or a chair, where he can easily reach them.  Jonathan crosses one leg over the other and begins with the first pant leg for the crossed leg.  The pants are already buckled and he keeps them that way.

Jonathan does not have finger function so he uses his hands to "shuffle" or pull up the first leg of the pants.  Then, he puts on the first sock of the same leg.   He uses mostly his wrists to pull on his socks.  Also, Jonathan pinches his thumb and finger together a little, but mostly uses wrist movements.  He "claws" the socks onto his feet.

Next, Jonathan puts on his first boot. He mentions that he likes mountain boots because they do not have to tie and are easier because of the hook and lace design.   He puts the boot on, stuffing the laces behind the tongue of the shoe.  Then, he pulls the first pant leg all the way to his knee to make it easier to put the second one on.  At this point, he unbuckles the belt and uncrosses his legs.

Jonathan then bends the belt back onto itself into the first belt loop so it stays in place.  He scoots forward again and balances using his arms and shoulders because he has no trunk control.

Before starting the second leg, he places a "leg bag" on his ankle.  It has easily removable clips, so he can independently put it on and off.  This makes it easier to put pants on.  Jonathan unclips the bag, pulls up his pants, then he clips it on again. 

He proceeds to "shuffle on" the second pant leg using the same technique as before.  Jonathan then places the second sock on using the same process – mostly using his wrist.  He also tucks the sock under the leg bag to prevent poor circulation.  Now, he can put on the second boot.  Jonathan pulls both pant legs up to his knees.

Now, Jonathan places his hands inside the pants and begins to push, not pull, his pants backward under his backside while balancing on his elbow.  He uses this pulling technique for both sides of the pant legs.

Once the pants are back far enough, he is able to "hook and lift" the pants with his thumbs to pull them up around his waist.  Jonathan also fastens his thumb onto the belt loops to help pull them up easier.

Jonathan says he is able to handle metal buttons by himself, but any other type is difficult for him to maneuver.  He uses a special hook and eye tool by grabbing the button and rotating it until it comes through the hole.  The tool also has a hook on the other end, so he can zipper his pants independently. 

With that, he is dressed for the day!

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