The Wheelchair Skills Program: A ‘gold-standard’ for assessment and training


François Routhier, PhD, and Krista Best, PhD, are both professors in the Department of rehabilitation and researchers at the Center for interdisciplinary research in rehabilitation and social integration at Université Laval (Québec, Canada).


Provision of a wheelchair can facilitate mobility and social participation for individuals with mobility limitations. However, acquisition alone does not ensure safe and effective use. The Wheelchair Skills Program (WSP), an evidence-based program, comprises validated assessment tools (Wheelchair Skills Test (WST)) and an effective training program (Wheelchair Skills Training Program (WSTP)). Testing and training materials are available for manual and power wheelchair use and scooter use for people of all ages. The WSP resources can be used by anyone who has an interest in providing or learning about wheelchair or scooter use. The WSP resources (a training manual, objective and subjective tests) are freely accessible online at The purpose of this workshop is to provide attendees with an overview of the WSP and foundational training in the standardized administration of the WST and WSTP.

Expected learning outcomes

  1. Describe the importance of the wheelchair in general and its use.
  2. Describe a structured method of assessment and training to improve the skills of wheelchair users.
  3. Select and retrieve the appropriate testing and training tools for a given wheelchair user.