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
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.
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 suppliers services.
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 owners manuals.You can talk with your local supplier about getting documents from any of the manufacturers.
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.
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.
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
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.
Last Updated: May 29, 2003