Atlanta, GA,
15:39 PM

Wheelchair Users Can Learn New Skills, Refine Existing Ones at Upcoming Advanced Wheelchair Skills Clinic

Registration is now open for the Oct. 12 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. 12, 2019 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 therapists 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.

“Many of our patients find that when they return home after rehabilitation, they need a different set of wheelchair skills to maneuver the variety of terrain they typically find in their own community,” McDowell says. “The Advanced Wheelchair Skills Clinic allows both new and experienced wheelchair users to fine tune their wheelchair skills to safely negotiate various settings and terrains.”

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, door management, uprighting the wheelchair, and negotiating elements such as grass, stones, sand and stairs.

“I met a young lady last year at the clinic who uses a manual chair. She was anxious to try things like popping a wheelie or attempting a two-inch curb,” says Clint Cook, who has attended the clinic several times and helps participants with their skills. “The next time I saw her after the clinic, she was showing everyone her wheelchair skills. The Advanced Wheelchair Skills Clinic is such a valuable clinic to help others get ready to get out and enjoy life,”

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 Kallie Phillips at or 404-603-4664.

About Shepherd Center

Shepherd Center provides world-class clinical care, research, and family support for people experiencing the most complex conditions, including spinal cord and brain injuries, multi-trauma, traumatic amputations, stroke, multiple sclerosis, and pain. An elite center recognized as both Spinal Cord Injury and Traumatic Brain Injury Model Systems, Shepherd Center is ranked by U.S. News as one of the nation’s top hospitals for rehabilitation. Shepherd Center treats thousands of patients annually with unmatched expertise and unwavering compassion to help them begin again.