Introduction

The material on this page reflects version 4.2 of the Wheelchair Skills Program. All elements of the program have been combined into a single manual as version 4.3 on a separate manual page.

The wheelchair is arguably the most important therapeutic tool in rehabilitation.

One important element in the rehabilitation care pathway is wheelchair skills training for wheelchair users and their caregivers. Using methodology based on the extensive motor-learning literature, beginning in 1996, the Wheelchair Research Team at Dalhousie University and Capital Health in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, began developing the Wheelchair Skills Program (WSP). The WSP is a set of assessment and training protocols related to wheelchair skills. The WSP includes the Wheelchair Skills Test (WST), the Wheelchair Skills Training Program (WSTP) and related materials.

Highlights of the WSP are

  • the focus on both the wheelchair user and the caregiver;
  • the inclusion of both manual and powered wheelchairs;
  • the attempt to incorporate the latest evidence on motor skills, biomechanics and ergonomics;
  • the process and sequencing of the training;
  • the ongoing evaluation of the WSP with as much scientific rigor as possible; and
  • the fact that it’s free.

General Introduction (Adobe Acrobat)

Dr. Kirby also presented a brief video overview of the origin and evolution of the wheelchair skills program in November 2015, which provides additional insight into the program.