The Powered Wheelchair Training Guide

Written by Axelson P, Minkel J, Perr A, & Yamada D.

Illustrated by Clay Butler

Published by: PAX Press, a division of Beneficial Designs, Inc., Santa Cruz, California

Appendix C

References and Resources

If you are interested in obtaining additional information about wheelchairs and mobility skills, there are a number of resources you can tap with a visit, a phone call, a letter or a modem.

Centers for Independent Living (CIL)

Most communities have a Center for Independent Living (also called Independent Living Centers or ILCs). These centers are run by and for people with disabilities. Their mission is to help people with disabilities live more independently and become productive, fully participating members of society.

Rehabilitation Centers

The rehabilitation center in your area may have facilities you can use to try out equipment and see which devices might benefit you. They may recommend an evaluation by an occupational or physical therapist, or a RESNA certified assistive technology practitioner. These professionals can often provide you with insight into your abilities and potential needs, and may be able to direct you toward other helpful accessories.Your rehabilitation center may also refer you to other centers that can better meet your specific needs.

Medical Equipment Suppliers

Medical Equipment Suppliers represent equipment manufacturers and should be able to help you make equipment choices compatible with your lifestyle. Remember that these companies are in the business of selling equipment, so you need to be an educated consumer and look further than the salesperson. The National Registry of Rehabilitation Technology Suppliers has a registry of equipment suppliers.

When buying equipment, consider the resources and reliability of the supplier. Ask them about their repair policies. For instance, will they loan you equipment when yours is being repaired? Are they helpful on the telephone? Do they seem willing to spend time telling you about the pros and cons of the variety of equipment? Will they help you adjust and re-adjust your equipment? The supplier should be willing to give you the names of a few of their customers. Contact these people to determine how they feel about the supplier’s services.

Equipment Manufacturers

Most wheelchair and related equipment manufacturers have toll-free numbers and are available for assistance. They will often refer you to a local supplier or others in your area who are familiar with their products. Some manufacturers have technical assistance departments that may be able to help you with specific questions about modifications, adjustments or repairs. Some manufacturers publish documents in addition to their wheelchair owner’s manuals.You can talk with your local supplier about getting documents from any of the manufacturers.

Other Users

Find people in your community who have similar interests and needs. Other people often have recommendations for equipment and you can combine their information with the recommendations you get from rehab professionals and equipment suppliers. By learning as much as you can, you will be able to make informed decisions about your equipment.

Professional Organizations

Some professional organizations may be able to provide you with information directly or refer you to members in your area who may be familiar with similar circumstances to yours.

American Physical Therapy Association
1111 N. Fairfax St.
Alexandria, VA 22314
Voice 800-999-2782
Internet address
American Occupational Therapy Association
4720 Montgomery Lane
PO Box 31220
Bethesda, MD 20824-1220
Voice 800-729-2682
Internet address
National Registry of Rehabilitation Technology Suppliers
P.O. Box 4033
Lago Vista, TX 78645-4033
Voice 512-267-6832
Internet address
Paralyzed Veterans of America
Spinal Cord Injury Education and Training Foundation
801 18th Street NW
Washington, DC 20006
Voice 800-424-8200
Internet address

Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America
700 N. Moore St., Suite 1540
Arlington, VA 22209-1903
Voice 1 (703) 524-6686
Internet address


A Guide to Wheelchair Selection: How to Use the ANSI/RESNA Wheelchair Standards to Buy a Wheelchair

Written by Peter Axelson, Jean Minkel and Denise Chesney Paralyzed Veterans of America, Washington, DC PVA Publications Distribution Center

Voice 888-860-7244
Active Living Magazine
P.O. Box 2659
Niagara Falls, NY 14302-9945
Internet address
New Mobility
No Limits, Inc.
P.O. Box 220
Horsham, PA 19044
Voice 888-850-0344
Internet address
Paraplegia News
PVA Publications
2111 East Highland Avenue, Suite 180
Phoenix, AZ 85016-4702
Voice 606-224-0500
Internet address
Sports ’n Spokes
PVA Publications
2111 East Highland Avenue, Suite 180
Phoenix, AZ 85016-4702
Voice 602-224-0500
Internet address

Sports ‘n Spokes publishes articles comparing available wheelchair models.


There are numerous websites with information about wheelchairs and for wheelchair users. Here are a few of them.

Internet address
A searchable database of rehabilitation products.
Beneficial Designs, Inc.
Internet address
A rehabilitation engineering design firm specializing in recreational technologies, innovative wheeled mobility and seating, and access to outdoor recreation environments.
Internet address
A site featuring wheelchairs, scooters and accessories.
Internet address
A site for wheelchair users by wheelchair users.
Internet address
A virtual community that provides information, support and a forum for wheelchair users.

Last Updated: May 29, 2003

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No quotes from the materials contained herein may be used in any media without attribution to WheelchairNet and the Department of Rehabilitation Science and Technology.

Please note: This information is provided a archival information from the Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center on Wheeled Mobility from 1993 to 2002.

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