For teenagers who use wheelchairs, prom season can be nerve-racking. Wondering if you’ll get a date, what to wear, and whether or not you’ll get on the dance floor are concerns that most teenagers have, but those fears can be magnified for teenagers with disabilities.
But there’s no need to worry — being in a wheelchair shouldn’t stop you from enjoying one of the most memorable nights of your life. With the right planning and support system, prom can be a blast. Here are a few tips to help you make the most of this special night.
Don’t sweat the dress
It’s not uncommon to have a dress made for the prom — many girls do it. For wheelchair users, it may seem like a necessity, but it isn’t. With so many affordable, stylish dresses available today, it’s possible to find something that suits your needs without having to get something custom-made. As long as it doesn’t get caught in your wheels or stop you from accessing your controller, you can roll into the big dance in style.
If you have issues with the zippers and hooks that can be found on many formal gowns, a good seamstress can replace them with velcro to make it easier to get in and out of your dress. They can also help make adjustments that will make the dress more comfortable for long-term sitting.
Get your service dog in on the act
If you use a service dog, they can get in on the fun too. When Erin Condrin of Australia was preparing for her formal dance, she wanted her service dog, Lacey, to be a part of the day, too. She decided to use leftover scraps from her dress to make a skirt for her, resulting in an adorable photo op.
If leftover scraps of fabric aren’t an option for you, a store-bought dog costume or simple DIY decorations will do. It’s not about perfection — just getting your loyal friend and helper in on the act. And don’t forget to get your service dog in the photos too! They’re an important part of this memorable occasion.
You can cut a rug
Dancing in a wheelchair is totally doable, but many teenagers worry about being embarrassed or gawked at when they’re trying to cut loose. Others may have a partner who feels awkward dancing with a partner in a wheelchair. Thanks to the internet, we can watch videos that prove it’s possible to cut a rug in a wheelchair.
To give you an idea of what’s possible, check out this wedding dance:
Obviously, you won’t need to have something rehearsed like this for prom, but if it makes you feel more comfortable to practice ahead of time, then go for it. Dancing is no fun when you’re feeling self-conscious. It’s all about having a good time.
Make your chair stand out
Last week, we highlighted a product called Light Wheels, which uses LED lights to give some flare to the wheels of your wheelchair. If you want to add some pizazz to your wheelchair for the big dance, try pimpmychair.com. Their style section has a collection of wheels, seat covers and other accessories that will complete your prom look.
Do you know of any cool ways to make prom more fun for teenagers in wheelchairs? Share your tips in the comments below!
AHM Exposed is the blog for At Home Medical, which specializes in selling continence care and other medical supplies for those with disabilities.