Chair Enabled                                                                                                            











When You Meet a Person Who Uses A Wheelchair
It is estimated that at least 25 million persons have mobility problems. Of these, approximately 500,000 use wheelchairs. People use wheelchairs as a result of a variety of disabilities, including spinal cord injury, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, arthritis, cerebral palsy and polio. Wheelchairs provide mobility for persons with paralysis, muscle weakness, lack of coordination, nerve damage, and/or stiffness of joints. Wheelchairs come in many sizes and shapes which are adapted to the lifestyle of the user. They range from custom-designed models for sports activities to basic utility models for use in hospitals and airports. Despite their active participation in our society, most people who use wheelchairs encounter attitudinal barriers which affect their lives on a daily basis What Can You Do?
Do not automatically hold on to a person's wheelchair. It is part of the person's body space. Hanging or leaning on the chair is similar to hanging or leaning on a person sitting in any chair. It is often fine if you are friends, but inappropriate if you are strangers.
Offer assistance if you wish, but do not insist. If a person needs help (s)he will accept your offer and tell you exactly what will be helpful. If you force assistance it can sometimes be unsafe as when you grab the chair and the person using it loses his/her balance.
Talk directly to the person using the wheelchair, not to a third party. The person is not helpless or unable to talk. Don't be sensitive about using words like "walking" or "running." People using wheelchairs use the same words. Be alert to the existence of architectural barriers in your office and when selecting a restaurant, home, theatre or other facility, to which you want to visit with a person who uses a wheelchair.
If conversation proceeds more than a few minutes and it is possible to do so, consider sitting down in order to share eye level. It is uncomfortable for a seated person to look straight up for a long period.
Don't park your car in a parking place in an accessible parking place. These places are reserved out of necessity, not convenience. The space is wider than usual in order to get wheelchairs in and out of the car and is close to the entrance for those who cannot push far.
When your dept., church, civic group or organization sponsors a program, be sure people with disabilities are included in the planning and presentation.
When children ask about wheelchairs and people who use them, answer them in a matter-of-fact manner. Wheelchairs, bicycles and skates share a lot in common.
When you hear someone use the term "cripple," politely but firmly indicate your preference for the words "person who has a disability."
If you wish to contribute to an organization that uses a "pity" or "sympathy" campaign, enclose a note with your check saying that the cause may be good, but the method of public appeal is demeaning to citizens with disabilities.
Voice your disapproval of the "poor cripple" image.
Include people with disabilities in photos used in promotional material. When people with disabilities are presented in the media as competent, or "like other people," write a note of support to the producer or publisher. Make sure meeting places are architecturally accessible (with ramps, modified bathrooms, wide doors, low telephones, etc.) so that people with disabilities can be equal participants.
Encourage your community to put "curb cuts" in sidewalks. These inexpensive built-in ramps enable wheelchair users to get from place to place independently.
Include people who use wheelchairs on community task forces (transportation, building, zoning) so that your town will meet the needs of all citizens.
Make it a point to try to reduce barriers in your physical surroundings. Often these barriers have been created by architects, engineers and builders who were unaware.
A simple "How could someone using a wheelchair get in here?" will help identify any barriers.

An Excellent source for wheelchair tricks of the trade complete with videos is www.cripcollege.com

 
ascending a step using a doorway.

Physiotherapist Aim:
To improve the ability to ascend a step in a wheelchair.

Client Aim:
To improve your ability to ascend a step in a wheelchair.

Physiotherapist Instructions:
Position the patient below a step in their wheelchair. Instruct the patient to use the doorway to pull themselves up over the step.

Client Instructions:
Position yourself (or have someone position you) below a step in your wheelchair. Practice using the doorway to pull yourself up over the step.

Progression and Variations:
Less advanced:
1. Decrease the height of the step.

More advanced:
1. Increase the height of the step.
2. Practice the task in different environments.

Precautions:
1. Caution required to prevent forward fall from wheelchair.
attaining a wheel stand.

Physiotherapist Aim:
To improve the ability to attain a wheel stand.

Client Aim:
To improve your ability to attain a wheel stand.

Physiotherapist Instructions:
Position the patient in their wheel stand. Instruct the patient to flip the wheelchair into a wheel stand.

Client Instructions:
Position yourself (or have someone position you) in your wheel stand. Practice flipping your wheelchair into a wheel stand.

Progression and Variations:
Less advanced:
1. Practice the task on a flat surface.

More advanced:
1. Practice the task in different environments.

Precautions:
1. Ensure that wheelchair does not flip backwards
Physiotherapist Aim:
To improve the ability to descend a grassy slope in a wheelchair.

Client Aim:
To improve your ability to descend a grassy slope in a wheelchair.

Physiotherapist Instructions:
Position the patient in their wheelchair at the top of a grassy slope. Instruct the patient to descend the grassy slope whilst maintaining a wheel stand.

Client Instructions:
Position yourself (or have someone position you) in your wheelchair at the top of a grassy slope. Practice descending the grassy slope whilst maintaining a wheel stand.

Progression and Variations:
Less advanced:
1. Practice on gentle slopes.
2. Practice on a cemented surface.

More advanced: 1. Practice on steeper slopes.
2. Practice the task in different environments.

Precautions:
1. Caution required to prevent forward fall from wheelchair
descending curb forwards in a wheelchair.

Physiotherapist Aim :
To improve the ability to descend a curb forwards in a wheelchair.

Client Aim:
To improve your ability to descend a curb forwards in a wheelchair.

Physiotherapist Instructions:
Position the patient in their wheelchair at the edge of a curb. Instruct the patient to descend the curb whilst maintaining a wheel stand.

Client Instructions:
Position yourself (or have someone position you) in your wheelchair at the edge of a curb. Practice descending the curb whilst maintaining a wheel stand.

Progression and Variations:
Less advanced:
1. Decrease the height of the curb.

More advanced:
1. Increase the height of the curb.
2. Practice the task in different environments.

Precautions:
1. Caution required preventing forward fall from wheelchair.
descending slopes forwards in a wheelchair.

Physiotherapist Aim:
To improve the ability to descend a slope in a wheelchair.

Client Aim:
To improve your ability to descend a slope in a wheelchair.

Physiotherapist Instructions:
Position the patient in their wheelchair at the top of a slope. Instruct the patient to descend the slope whilst maintaining a wheel stand.

Client Instructions:
Position yourself (or have someone position you) in your wheelchair at the top of a slope. Practice descending the slope whilst maintaining a wheel stand.

Progression and Variations:
Less advanced:
1. Practice on gentle slopes.

More advanced:
1. Practice on steeper slopes.
2. Practice the task in different environments.

Precautions:
1. Caution required preventing forward fall from wheelchair.
descending stairs backwards in a wheelchair.

Physiotherapist Aim:
To improve the ability to descend a flight of stairs backwards in a wheelchair.

Client Aim:
To improve your ability to descend a flight of stairs backwards in a wheelchair.

Physiotherapist Instructions:
Position the patient in their wheelchair at the top of a flight of stairs. Instruct the patient to practice lowering themselves down the stairs with one hand on the stair rail and their other hand on the rim of the wheel.

Client Instructions:
Position yourself (or have someone position you) in your wheelchair at the top of a flight of stairs. Practice lowering yourself down the stairs with one hand on the stair rail and your other hand on the rim of the wheel.

Progression and Variations:
Less advanced:
1. Decrease the number and depth of the stairs.

More advanced:
1. Increase the number and depth of the stairs.
2. Practice the task in different environments.
descending stairs forwards in a wheelchair.

Physiotherapist Aim:
To improve the ability to descend stairs in a wheelchair.

Client Aim:
To improve your ability to descend stairs in a wheelchair.

Physiotherapist Instructions:
Position the patient in their wheelchair at the top of 3-5 stairs. Instruct the patient to descend the stairs whilst maintaining a wheel stand.

Client Instructions:
Position yourself (or have someone position you) in your wheelchair at the top of 3-5 stairs. Practice descending the stairs whilst maintaining a wheel stand.

Progression and Variations:
Less advanced:
1. Decrease the number and depth of the stairs.

More advanced:
1. Increase the depth of the stairs.
2. Practice the task in different environments.

Precautions:
1. Caution required preventing forward fall from wheelchair.
uprighting wheelchair.

Physiotherapist Aim:
To improve the ability to upright a wheelchair.

Client Aim:
To improve your ability to upright a wheelchair.

Physiotherapist Instructions:
Position the patient in their wheelchair tipped backwards. Instruct the patient to upright the wheelchair using one hand on the floor and the other hand on the rim of the wheel.

Client Instructions:
Position yourself (or have someone position you) in your wheelchair tipped backwards. Practice uprighting the wheelchair using one hand on the floor and the other hand on the rim of the wheel.

Progression and Variations:
Less advanced:
1. Place your hand on a stool rather than on the floor.

More advanced:
1. Practice the task in different environments.