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Advanced Wheelchair Skills Clinic Offers Wheelchair Users a Chance to Learn New Skills, Refine Existing Ones

Registration is now open for the October 13 clinic.

Whether new or experienced, users of manual wheelchairs have an opportunity to learn and practice advanced wheelchair mobility skills in a free clinic scheduled for Oct. 13, 2018 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Shepherd Center.

Shepherd Center staff members of various disciplines volunteer their time to train former patients and community members at the annual Wheelchair Skills Clinic. This year’s class again coincides with National Physical Therapy Day of Service, a day created to unite the physical therapy profession in acts of service.

“Our incredibly talented team of physical therapists and physical therapy assistants look forward to this day of service because it allows them to share their professional expertise with the community,” says Shari McDowell, PT, DPT, director of the Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation Program at Shepherd Center. 

Shepherd Center launched the Advanced Wheelchair Skills Clinic in 2012 in response to needs identified by staff members in Shepherd Center’s Seating and Mobility Clinic, as well as several physical therapists in Shepherd’s Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation Program.

“We have found that between various therapies and intensive rehabilitation, patients rarely have the time they need to fine tune wheelchair skills before they are discharged from the inpatient program,” McDowell explains. “Plus, they often find they need a different set of skills to maneuver the variety of terrain they typically find in their own community.”

Shepherd Center’s Advanced Wheelchair Skills Clinic aims to provide persons who are currently using manual wheelchairs with continued education to learn, review and practice wheelchair skills under the guidance of Shepherd Center therapists. Practicing these skills may translate into increased confidence, safety and independence when performing manual wheelchair skills during daily activities and in the community. Skills covered in this clinic may include propulsion technique, wheelies, curbs, falling safely, uprighting the wheelchair, and negotiating elements such as grass, stones, sand and stairs.

This clinic is appropriate for:

  • Persons who use a manual wheelchair as their primary means of independent mobility.
  • Persons independent in personal care or who will have a caregiver present.
  • Persons with a working wheelchair that does not currently require maintenance.

A caregiver or friend may attend to work on spotting technique, but is not required for participation. 

To register for this clinic, click here. For more information, please contact Brian Maloney, PT, DPT, NCS, at 404-603-4634 or

Download the Brochure Here

About Shepherd Center

Shepherd Center, located in Atlanta, Georgia, is a private, not-for-profit hospital specializing in medical treatment, research and rehabilitation for people with spinal cord injury, brain injury, multiple sclerosis, spine and chronic pain, and other neuromuscular conditions. Founded in 1975, Shepherd Center is ranked by U.S. News & World Report among the top 10 rehabilitation hospitals in the nation. In its more than four decades, Shepherd Center has grown from a six-bed rehabilitation unit to a world-renowned, 152-bed hospital that treats more than 743 inpatients, 277 day program patients and more than 7,161 outpatients each year in more than 46,000 visits.