ISS 2017 Program


Pre-Symposium Workshop dot Symposium Day 1 dot Symposium Day 2 dot Symposium Day 3

PC12: Mobile Device Access and Integration for Wheelchair Users

Mobile devices, including phones, tablets, and wearable devices have seen rapid growth in the past few years, becoming vital in our daily lives. For clients who use wheelchairs, these devices have the potential to substantially improve access to communication, computing, and environmental control. Wearable devices, including the Apple Watch, are now beginning to address specific needs of wheelchair users in their operation. The potential of these devices to address individual needs of wheelchair users is largely dependent on whether the individual can access the device reliably. This is impacted by the level of integration between the wheelchair and the device, and access to the device itself. It is critical for wheelchair and seating professionals to have an understanding of the device capabilities and integration, to ensure access is taken into account when wheelchairs and seating are prescribed. This BYOD (bring your own device) pre-conference workshop will provide hands on opportunities for clinicians to learn and practice the skills necessary for setting up and training clients for mobile device use. Participants will have the opportunity to explore alternative access to touch interfaces for iOS and Android, including voice and switch access options, device mounting considerations, and specific integration with powered wheelchair electronics packages. The use of case-studies will provide opportunities to apply new knowledge, and ensure participants leave the workshop with relevant clinical skills. Each participant will be encouraged to use their device throughout the workshop, to ensure the maximal amount of hands-on time.


Learning Objectives:

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



Emma M Smith, MScOT, ATP/SMS
University of British Columbia
Vancouver, British Columbia

Emma Smith is an Occupational Therapist and PhD Candidate at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. Emma's research is focused on powered wheelchair skills assessment and training, and the use of assistive technologies to facilitate independence. Emma has clinical experience in assistive technology, wheelchair and seating provision, community occupational therapy, and pediatrics.



    1. Smith, E. (2014). Switch Access Guide for iOS. Retrieved from:
    2. Hills, C. & Perez, L. (2015). Handsfree: Mastering Switch Control on iOS [iBooks version]. Retrieved from
    3. Smith, E. & Gayton, D. (2013). "I can't drive! My voice is in the way!" Mounting of AAC/SGD Devices for Mobility. Proceedings of the 4th European Seating Symposium, Dublin, Ireland.
    4. Smith, E. (2015). Switch access to iOS and other devices for wheelchair users. In Proceedings of the 31st International Seating Symposium, Nashville, TN.
    5. Cook, A. & Polgar, J. Eds. (2013). Assistive Technology: Principles and Practice, 4th Edition, 4th ed. Mosby Elsevier.
    6. Scherer, M. (2002). Assistive Technology: Matching device and consumer for successful rehabilitation. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
    7. Smith, E. (2016). Making the Impossible Possible: Access to iOS devices for communication and environmental control. In Proceedings of the 5th European Seating Symposium, Dublin, Ireland.
    8. Breaux, B. (2015). Access to mobile devices through the power wheelchair drive control system. In Proceedings of the 31st International Seating Symposium, Nashville, TN.

Pre-Symposium Workshop dot Symposium Day 1 dot Symposium Day 2 dot Symposium Day 3


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