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Manual Mobility: Introduction


Introduction to Manual Wheeled Mobility

Manual wheeled mobility includes use of manual wheelchairs, strollers or wheeled carts. Manual means that it is propelled by a person – either self-propelled by the person in the device, or attendant propelled by another person.

In a new taxonomy of assistive technology devices (Shoemaker et al., 2010) a manual wheelchair is defined as a ‘seated device with two propelling wheels and two front casters’. Paediatric manual wheeled mobility devices are defined as ‘wheelchairs designed for children with options for growth.’

Manual wheeled mobility is divided into four types:
• Manual wheelchairs: Commonly referred to as lightweight or ultralight
• Specialty wheelchairs: Including sports wheelchairs and standing wheelchairs. Caster carts could also be considered as belonging in this group.
• Positioning wheelchairs: Including tilt-in-space and reclining wheelchairs or special needs strollers with positioning and tilt-in-space options.
• Transport wheelchairs: Including more basic special needs strollers

Manual wheeled mobility devices may be:
• Folding: Where the frame is collapsible by a cross brace in the frame.
• Rigid: With a welded frame that does not have a folding cross brace. Rigid wheelchairs are often available with folding backrests. This feature, along with quick release wheels, means that they may be as easy to fit into a standard vehicle trunk.
• Lightweight and ultralight: Are lighter than transport wheelchairs and designed for self-propulsion. They cannot be defined accurately since manufacturers often give weights without wheels, armrests or front riggings! Lightweight chairs may be folding or rigid. Ultralight chairs have rigid frames and are as light as possible.
• Recline wheelchairs change the angle between seat and back, while the angle between seat and ground remain the same.
• Tilt-in-space wheelchairs change seat angle orientation to the ground while seat, back and legrest angles remain constant.


Last Updated: Jul 08, 2013