Wheelchair Service Provision Case Studies - Wheelchair Skills

A transcript of this video is available at the bottom of this page.

Moses[edit | edit source]

Moses is 23 years old. He fell from the back of a truck two years ago and became paraplegic. He spent one year in the hospital and then returned to his home village with an old donated wheelchair.The wheelchair broke very quickly and he was unable to move around. He developed a pressure sore which has now healed.

Moses has just received a new wheelchair with a pressure relief cushion through the wheelchair service.This wheelchair is designed to go over rough ground. He is very excited about going home with this wheelchair and is hopeful that he will be more independent. [2]

Sian[edit | edit source]

Sian is 40 years old and has a bilateral above knee amputation. He has been a wheelchair user for 20 years and has had five wheelchairs over that time. He finds that the wheelchairs he has break down quickly.

He is very active and works in a local shop. He travels from his home to the shop every day, on rough, bumpy and often muddy paths. He demonstrated for the wheelchair service personnel how he can do wheelies.

He has just been prescribed a new wheelchair. He is hoping that this wheelchair will last longer than his last one, which broke down after six months. [2]

Zoe[edit | edit source]

Zoe is 16 years old. She had polio as a young girl, and now cannot walk. She is very shy,and has not been to school.Her mother has given her lessons at home and she can read and write well. She has just received a new wheelchair and has shown the wheelchair service personnel how she can transfer easily into and out of the chair.

Zoe is interested in attending a local vocational school, however, she does not think that she can manage getting to the school and back. There are a few steps into the school building. She is also worried about how she would go to the toilet while at the school. [2]

Transcript of Video[edit | edit source]

[On-screen text]

A series of wheelchair mobility skills:

  • Pushing
  • Turning
  • Up slopes
  • Down slopes
  • Up steps with assistance
  • Down steps with assistance
  • Partial wheelie
  • Full wheelie


Pushing correctly takes less effort

Push from 10 o’clock to 2 o’clock position

Use long smooth action to push

Lalithamma: Our village roads are full of rocks and uneven surfaces. With this new wheelchair, I feel confident. So it is easy to cross over rock and sandy surfaces independently.

[On-screen text]


Hold one push rim towards the front and the other towards the back

Simultaneously pull the front hand backwards and push the back hand forwards


Cassidy’s mother: Cassidy is an inspiration to a lot of people in her church, and all over where she goes. Everyday she loves to go to school, she loves to come to church, she loves to do everything. She needs a wheelchair that’s equipped for her, she’s very strong in the hands. And here is a typical example of a miracle to the world, to say what disabled children can do.

[On-screen text]

Up slopes

Lean forward

To stop - park the wheelchair sideways

Down slopes

Lean backwards

Let the push rim slide slowly through the hands

Sai: My mother used to struggle a lot. It was very rough for her to carry me over the steps. Once the ramp was made, it was easier for me to move around, and I can now go to school independently.

[On-screen text]

Up steps with assistance

Go up backwards

Tilt wheelchair onto back wheels

Assistant pulls backwards and upwards

Wheelchair user can assist by pulling the push rims

Down steps with assistance

Go forwards

Tilt the wheelchair onto back wheels

Assistant lets the back wheels slowly roll down one step at a time

Wheelchair user can assist by controlling the push rims

Partial wheelie

Roll wheelchair backwards until hands at 10 o’clock, then push forwards quickly

Castor wheels should come up

Full wheelie

This is an advanced skills

Practise with an experienced trainer


Elsie Ningalo (CBR Coordinator, Solomon Islands): Some of the wheelchair users think that when they receive a wheelchair they just have someone else to push them around, but if they have the power to do it, they can do it themselves. And even some, if they see the road is too rough they think that they cannot go by themselves and they need someone to help them, but with these little techniques of mobility skills they’ve been taught, they’ve learnt “I can do things on my own with this wheelchair”. So they become independent and can do things for themselves. And that’s what we really want to see and help and work with wheelchair users out in the community to be independent and do things on their own without relying on other family members to assist them.

[On-screen text]

Safety Precautions:

  • When practising going up and down slopes, have assistant stand behind you until you are confident
  • Do not assist a wheelchair user up and down steps unless you are sure you are able to control the wheelchair safely
  • If unsure, get help
  • When learning how to do a wheelie, have an assistant stand behind you until you are confident
  • If unsure, get help

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Assistive Technology for All. WSTP Basic Video Series: 4. Wheelchair Mobility Skills. Available from: https://youtu.be/juLFv9kmpPs[last accessed 30/06/18]
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Sarah Frost, Kylie Mines, Jamie Noon, Elsje Scheffler, and Rebecca Jackson Stoeckle. Wheelchair Service Training Package - Reference Manual for Participants - Basic Level. World Health Organization, Geneva. 2012