ISS 2017 Program


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IC11: Optimizing the Ride: How Manual Wheelchair Configuration Enhances Function

IC11 Handouts

Technology continues to allow us to enhance and modify manual wheelchair configurations. Factors such as: frame materials, tires, wheels, casters, and frame length, all contribute to performance and function as well as how much force and effort is required for wheeled mobility. When a clinician, supplier, and client understand how to pair wheelchair skills with wheelchair prescription, the best possible outcome and maximal riding experience occurs. This course will review recommendations regarding optimal wheelchair configuration, summarize research to support component selection, as well as demonstrate propulsion over terrain with an optimally configured chair, as compared to a sub-par chair. We will identify how to prioritize chair configuration to optimize propulsion and skills, both with and without power assist. Discussion will take place regarding how to find a balance between stability and instability to allow maximal function in all planes of seated movement.
This session is supported by a company with reported interest in the sale of Assistive Technology products. The content has been reviewed by ISS personnel and determined to be appropriate for continuing education purposes.


Learning Objectives:

Upon completion of this session, attendees will be able to;



Jennith Bernstein, PT, DPT, ATP
Permobil, Inc.
Lebanon, TN
United States

Jennith has been a PT for over 12 years and spent the last 10 years at Shepherd Center in Atlanta, Georgia. She completed her Masters in Physical Therapy in 2004 and completed her transitional DPT at University of Texas Medical Branch in 2014.Jennith has served as a volunteer teacher in Guatemala. Jennith has presented at national conferences such as RESNA, ISS, and APTA NEXT conference. Jennith joined Permobil as a Clinical Educator in 2016.

Devon Doebele, PTA
Max Mobility
Nashville, TN

Devon Doebele has a background in Physical Therapy, working for the past 15 years representing manufacturers of complex rehab equipment.
This includes such manufacturers as Ti Lite, Roho, and Ki Mobility.
Devon currently works with Max Mobility, LLC. to support them in their efforts to provide clinical education and training along with the development of web and mobile applications.



    1. Caspall, J. J., Seligsohn, E., Dao, P. V., & Sprigle, S. (2013). Changes in inertia and effect on turning effort across different wheelchair configurations. Journal of Rehabilitation Research and Development J Rehabil Res Dev, 50(10), 1353-1362.
    2. Worobey, L. A., Kirby, R. L., Heinemann, A. W., Krobot, E. A., Dyson-Hudson, T. A., Cowan, R. E., . . . Boninger, M. L. (2016). Effectiveness of Group Wheelchair Skills Training for People With Spinal Cord Injury: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Archives of Physical
      Medicine and Rehabilitation.
    3. DiGiovine, C., Rosen, L., Berner, T., Betz, K, Roesler, T., & Schmeler, M. (2012). RESNA Position on the Application of Ultralight Manual Wheelchairs,[position paper]. Rehabilitation Engineering & Assistive Technology Society of North America. Retrieved April 6, 2016 from

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Updated | 02.22.2017      Facebook logo  Twitter
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