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State Spinal Cord Injury Service

Spinal Seating Modules

Module 9:
Manual wheelchairs and propulsion-assist devices


This module aims to provide information about manual wheelchair interventions and prescriptions to meet the needs of clients with a spinal cord injury, who are primarily self-propelling for independent mobility. It also aims to provide information about the emerging range of propulsion-assist modules for use with manual wheelchairs and their clinical application.

Note: Only the types of manual wheelchair for independent mobility commonly used by clients with a spinal cord injury will be discussed in this module.


The manualwheelchair configuration influences the seating position of the client and the efficiency of the client’s mobility and interaction with the environment. A successful manual wheelchair prescription integrates the goals of optimal posture and pressure management as established in Module 7 and Module 8 .


At the end of this module, you will be able to:

  • Recognise the indicators for a manual wheelchair assessment
  • Understand the key considerations for prescribing and configuring a manual wheelchair
  • Understand issues relating to the selection of propulsion-assist devices
  • Understand the role of wheelchair suppliers, and
  • Conduct manual wheelchair and propulsion-assist devices trials as a part of the scripting process.

In this module