As we are preparing for our son to start college next month, one of the things S needed to buy was a bag to carry his books and laptop. Most college students go to a store and buy a backpack, messenger bag, or sling bag, and they are set. Of course, it can't be that simple. Since most things in S's life aren't easy, why would buying a bag be any different?
Because S will be using his wheelchair on campus, he needs a bag that he can easily get to while in his wheelchair. Some people who use wheelchairs have no problems putting a backpack onto the handles of their chair and turning around to get things out of it. S's CP and scoliosis prevent him from turning like that. A backpack doesn't work.
He has a messenger bag that he uses on a daily basis; however, it is too small for what he will need at college. It also doesn't lend itself to being used in his wheelchair. Because of the way it hangs on him while he sits, it impedes him pushing himself in his wheelchair. Sometimes he just throws it around his neck wearing it like a feed bag; however, put a laptop and a textbook or two in there and you are asking for a lot of neck problems. He doesn't need anything else that needs to be dealt with.
Another issue he has with his messenger bag is that there are too many pockets that he can throw "stuff" into. The problem with this is twofold:
1. He has a hard time seeing into the deep, dark abyss that are the pockets of his bag to see what he is looking for.
2. ADD: He finds something else that he was looking for earlier and distracts himself from what he is supposed to be finding.
If you are ever doing a scavenger hunt, his bag would be the one you would want to dig through to find random things that most people would never carry around. Guaranteed that you would probably find it in that bag!
Wheelchair Carry All
S has a Carry All that attaches under his wheelchair seat. It is nice for carrying things, but it is very difficult for him to get things out of it himself. It requires him to spread his legs and bend over at the same time. His CP doesn't allow him to do that. He can spread his legs OR he can bend over. Take your pick.
We think this is the best option. He is going to have to wear it on his chest rather than his back because he won't be positioned in his wheelchair correctly. The challenges we have found with a sling bag include:
1. How is the zipper positioned on it? Is it angled or more a straight line at the top?
2. What is the size of the bag? S isn't very tall, so there isn't a lot of body space for the bag to sit on his chest/lap.
3. Regarding the size of the bag, will a laptop fit in the bag that best fits his body?
We ordered two sling bags, one smaller and one larger. The smaller one is a great fit for S’s body and doesn’t look like he could fit in it. We were originally told that he was going to be getting a Surface tablet for school (one of his agencies is providing AT support for college). The Amazon review for this bag said that a Surface tablet fits with a book. Perfect!
Not quite so simple….S met with AT and was told he will be getting a laptop. Guess what is just a little too big for the perfect bag? The laptop. We have to decide if he will use the bigger bag which is quite big but would fit his books and laptop or if we start a new search.
Who knew buying a bag was so difficult? Difficult enough that I wrote a whole blog post about it. Go figure!
I will be on the couch with chocolate and the ipad searching for the perfect bag.