The award-winning MERU Bugzi is a powered indoor wheelchair for children aged one to six and offers a unique opportunity for pre-school children with disabilities to experience independent mobility, often for the first time in their lives.
Early years mobility
An ideal introduction to switch and joystick use, Bugzi is safe, compact and manoeuvrable – the perfect wheelchair introduction. Each Bugzi is specially tailored and adapted to the individual child’s needs, with the capacity to adjust seating and controls as they grow.
By allowing disabled children to use and develop their physical co-ordination and spatial awareness, Bugzi provides them the opportunity to explore their world, make choices about what to do – learning about risk and safety – and interact socially with their friends and families.
Bugzi helps young children like Danny achieve independence, the opportunity to learn and explore – and even the chance to make new friends.
Danny has Cerebral Palsy which means he is unable to walk. MERU provided Danny with his first powered mobility aid: Bugzi, a tiny indoor wheelchair which was the perfect vehicle for him – allowing control of his mobility and giving him invaluable freedom and independence.
Danny first tried Bugzi using a push-button system for left, right and forward controls. He mastered them very quickly and moved on to a Moozi joystick. Within half an hour he could manoeuvre wherever he wanted to go. The fine motor control required will help him when he learns other important skills like writing or using a keypad.
Offering young children like Danny the chance to be independently mobile from a young age means that once he is old enough for a larger powered wheelchair, he will already be familiar with the special awareness, safe control and hand-eye co-ordination required.
Allison Dick, Senior Paediatric Occupational Therapist at the Orchard House Child Development Centre agrees. “Not only is the experience of movement vital for children with limited motor skills but Bugzi also provides an alternative way by to develop their understanding of cause and effect, and the skills they need to operate switches.”
Bugzi encourages the development of physical co-ordination and motor skills – as well as better spatial awareness and personal risk management. Using Bugzi is also a great motivator and provides a platform for children to use these skills in developing their communication.
Ewan has Cerebral Palsy which affects both his communication and mobility skills. MERU provided Ewan with his first powered mobility device – Bugzi – the perfect vehicle to take control of his mobility whilst learning new skills that will support his communication development.
MERU previously manufactured a supportive seating insert to fit into a trailer buggy for Ewan which attached to his dad’s bicycle, allowing him to join in with his family’s cycling activities. It was so successful that Ewan and his dad regularly complete cycling events and even triathlons together!
Ewan’s dad Ben says: “Without Bugzi, Ewan has limited ability to do what most children love – to explore! Using the switches allows him to be mobile independently but teaches him about active play. Pressing buttons and understanding the resulting actions is vital for his cognitive development. He loves Bugzi – Thank you MERU!”
Children like Ewan use switches, such as Moozi to communicate, learning to consciously move their hands, feet or head to press a switch to make a choice. Developing their switching skills at an early age with Bugzi can be hugely beneficial and open up opportunities for choice-making and improving communication.
Bugzi Loan Scheme
Thanks to the generosity of donors we have built 10 Bugzi’s which can be loaned free of charge from our sister charity the QEF Mobility Centre. To qualify, the child must have legal residency in the UK for a minimum of 6 months. All you need to do is complete a simple application form and tell us how your child could benefit from a free Bugzi loan. This will be reviewed and if your application is successful we will be in contact with you.
Call the QEF Mobility Centre 0208 770 1151 for more information and an application form.
Bugzi is a fully functioning CE-marked electric wheelchair and includes a programmable controller, postural seating and rechargeable batteries. It accepts MiniCaps and NurseryCAPS seats from Active Design.
Price: £4000.00 +VAT (VAT exemption may apply)