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Power Wheelchair






To Register - email Meredith Loveless.

Checks may be mailed to:

Department of Physical Therapy Attn: Meredith Loveless
PO Box 1881
Marquette University
Milwaukee, WI 53201

Tuition: Discounted fee for MU alumni, MU CIs and WPTA members: $150

Regular fee: $180

Contact hours: 7

Power Wheelchair Mobility: A Lifetime of Independence

Course description

This course has been developed to explore current trends in power mobility across the lifespan. Emphasis is on evaluation of each client’s abilities and weaknesses to assess all options available to them. We will also discuss functional seating for access to control interfaces. Case studies will be presented and a panel of clients will join us to discuss their experiences with power mobility. Lastly, time will be taken to discuss funding challenges.

Course objectives

By the end of this presentation, the attendees will be able to…


Course Outline
8:00 – 9:00 Evaluation of the patient and their environment to determine optimal power mobility
9:00 – 10:00 Evaluation of best seating and positioning for access to environment and independence
10:00 – 10:15 Break
10:15 – 11:15 Decision process to determine input device for driving and positioning in power wheelchair
11:15 – 12:00 Advice on how to address funding challenges
12:00 – 2:00 Lunch
2:00 – 3:30 Case studies
3:30 – 4:45 Discussion with panel of clients regarding their experiences with power mobility
4:45 – 5:00 Questions/Discussion


Anne Pleva is a graduate of Marquette University and an APTA Board Certified Pediatric Specialist. She has worked in pediatrics for 18 years and is a lab supervisor at Marquette University in pediatrics. Anne also assists in teaching the NDT 3 day Baby Course and SI/NDT course. She developed and teaches a course on assessment and treatment of infants with torticollis. Anne is currently working on her DPT through the University of Texas Medical Branch, which has included graduate coursework on adaptive and assistive technology. Her continuing education and experience includes: Neurodevelopmental Treatment, taping, biofeedback, electrical stimulation, infant massage, casting, orthotics and use of adaptive equipment.

Michelle Lanouette graduated from The University of Miami with her Master’s of Science in Physical Therapy.  She is an APTA Board Certified Neurologic Specialist. She has worked at the Zablocki Veterans Administration Medical Center Spinal Cord Injury Unit for 18 years. She helps to progress spinal cord injured patients from acute care, through rehabilitation, and on an outpatient basis. She is involved in fitting individuals with neurologic and orthopedic diagnoses for both manual and power wheelchairs. Michelle is also involved as an adjunct professor at Marquette University in the Physical Therapy and Exercise Science Programs. Michelle organizes a one day Spinal Cord Injury Seminar for Concordia University’s Physical Therapy Program.  She teaches a lecture on wheelchair seating and positioning for the Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation residents from the Medical College of Wisconsin. Michelle is also involved in classification for wheelchair sports. She has been classifying in the United States for 18 years, and she recently became certified to classify internationally for Quad Rugby.


  1. Bulter,C., Okamoto, G., & McKay, T. (1983) Powered mobility for very young disabled children. Developmental medicine and child neurology.25:472-474.
  2. Durkin, J. (2009). Discovering powered mobility skills with children: ‘responsive partners in learning’. International Journal of Therapy and Rehabilitation. 16 (6): 331-341.
  3. Fisher, K. & Ricardo, G. (2001) Maximizing mobility. The Interdisciplinary journal of Rehabilitation.  13 (8): 64, 66-67.
  4. Jones, M., McEwen, I., & Hansen,L. (2003) Use of power mobility for a young child with spinal muscular atrophy. Physical Therapy. 83 (3): 253-262
  5. Lynch, A., Ryu, J., Agrawal, S., & Galloway, J. (2009) Power mobility for a 7-month-old infant with spina bifida. Pediatric Physical Therapy,21:362-368.
  6. Livingstone, R. (2009) . Beginning power mobility: a knowledge translation activity. Occupational Therapy Now. 11(6): 21-24.
  7. Ragonesi, C., Chen, X., Agrawal, S, & Galloway,J. (2010) Power mobility and socialization in preschool: a case study of  a child with cerebral palsy. Pediatric Physical Therapy. 22: 322-329
  8. Alm, M., Gutierrex, E., Hultling, C., et al.  (2003) Clinical evaluation of seating in persons with complete thoracic spinal cord injury.  Spinal Cord. 41(10): 563-571.
  9. Massery, M. (1994) What’s positioning got to do with it? Neurol. Rep. 18(3)
  10. Boninger, M., Waters, RL., Chase, T., et al. (2005) Preservation of Upper Limb Function Following Spinal Cord Injury: A Clinical Practice Guideline for Health-Care Professionals. Washington DC:  Paralyzed Veterans of America Consortium for Spinal Cord Medicine.
  11. Hastings, JD., Fanucchi, ER., Burns, SP. (2003) Wheelchair configuration and postural alignment in persons with spinal cord injury.  Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 84: 528-534.
  12. Maurer, CL., Sprigle, S. (2004) Effect of seat inclination on seated pressures of individuals with spinal cord injury. Phys Ther. 84(3): 699-718.
  13. Cook, AM., Hussey, AM. (2002) Seating systems as extrinsic enablers for assistive technologies. Assistive Technologies Principles and Practice. 2nd ed. St. Louis, MO: Mosby.
  14. Corfman TA., Cooper, RA., Boninger, ML., et al. (2003) Range of motion and stroke frequency differences between manual wheelchair propulsion and pushrim-activated power-assisted wheelchair propulsion.  J Spinal Cord Med 26: 135-140.
  15. Fass, MV., Cooper, RA., Fitzgerald, SC., et al. (2004) Durability, value, and reliability of selected electric powered wheelchairs. Arch Phys Med Rehabil.  85(5): 805-814.
  16. Lacoste, M., Weiss-Lambrou, R., Allard, M., et al. (2003) Powered tilt/recline systems:  Why and how are they used? Assist Technol. 15(1): 58-68.
  17. Hastings, JD. (2005) Instrument development:  A postural scale for wheelchair users. J Spinal Cord Med. 28(2): 163.
  18. Field-Fote, E. (2009) Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation. Chapter 8: Seating and Wheelchair Prescription (Hastings, JD., Betz, KL.).  Philadelphia, PA:  FA Davis Company.


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