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Phone: 07482 151537

Email: stuart@freedomwheelchairskills.co.uk

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Frequently asked questions

Do I need to bring someone with me? Yes, you will need to bring a physically-able adult with you. They will act as your 'spotter' during the training.

 

• What is a spotter? A spotter is someone who is present while particular skills are being learnt and practiced, to prevent you from falling out of your wheelchair.

 

• How will my spotter know what to do? Full instructions will be given to the spotter at the start of the training session, before any skills are practiced.

 

• Are you insured? Yes, I have full public liability insurance. Please note, you will need to sign an Order Confirmation Form stating you agree to the Services Terms and Conditions before training starts.

 

• Who can you teach? Anyone who uses a manual wheelchair for their mobility can be taught skills to enable them to use their chair more effectively and safely. How far an individual progresses depends on their individual physical ability and personal determination. I can teach children as well as adults.

 

• Can you teach anyone wheelchair skills, no matter what their disability? Yes. A personal individual ability assessment will be completed over the telephone prior to a booking being confirmed. This will help me assess what skills may be possible and useful to develop, and to discuss what might be covered in the training session.

 

• What skills can you teach me? I can teach you how to use your chair safely and effectively. You and I will cover essential skills before perhaps progressing to more advanced skills as appropriate. Details of skills taught can be found here. All safety issues regarding each skill will be discussed, and each skill will be explained and demonstrated before being practiced.

 

• Does it matter what type of wheelchair I have? You can learn some skills in any chair and get better use of it. However, lightweight chairs are easier to manoeuvre and you are likely to gain more independent movement. Chair configuration will also make some skills easier to perform than others. For example side guards with arm rests will restrict the user’s ability to push the chair effectively. You can achieve effective pushing with arm rests (as some people may need them for postural support), it's just that arm rests may restrict the movement of the arms when pushing the chair.

 

• Can you offer advice on chair configuration? I am not an Occupational Therapist or Physiotherapist so I cannot give professional advice on chair set up. I can however make suggestions that could improve your ability to use your chair.

 

• Can you teach transfers? Yes, depending on equipment available at a venue I am happy to teach my own techniques for floor-to-chair and split-level transfers, and other more specific transfers such as getting in and out of a car. It is important to note that the ability to use floor-to-chair and chair-to-floor transfers depends upon a number of factors, including upper body strength, chair set-up, and confidence, and it is not realistic to expect everyone to have the physical capability. If you would specifically like to learn transfers let me know before the session is arranged in order to try and accommodate your request.

 

• Do I need to bring anything with me? In addition to a spotter (see above), you are advised to bring any drinks and snacks with you that you may need during the session. All equipment for training purposes is provided, including spotting straps. You do not need push handles or anti-tip bars on your wheelchair.

 

• Where does the training take place? I am based in South Buckinghamshire and prefer people to travel to me as I have a number of suitable local venues we can use that meet our training requirements. Venues will generally be village halls, community centres etc. which have sufficient internal space to practice essential skills. If you are unable to travel to South Bucks or prefer to meet more locally to you please phone to discuss this (see following FAQ).

 

• How far will you travel to teach someone skills? I am prepared to travel from my base (HP10 postcode), with additional mileage costs charged at 40p per mile. I will need to identify a suitable venue in your area, and may need to make additional charges depending on the hire cost.

 

• Can you teach people how to use a powerchair? No, but I may be able to put you in touch with individuals that can offer advice and support.

 

• How long does a session last? A session will usually last 3 hours.

 

• How many sessions will I need? This will depend on how far you wish to develop your skills. Some people may find that a one-off session is enough to gain confidence and skills to meet their goals, whereas for others training over several sessions enables development of skills within a safe environment or allows more advanced skills to be learnt. Your needs and your goals for training will be discussed before the first session is arranged.

 

• How long will it take before I am confident with performing the skills? This will differ between individuals and depends on ability, confidence and amount of practice. You will be provided with reminder sheets outlining the skills taught in the session to take away with you.

Getting the most out of pushing techniques, forwards and backwards, saving wear and tear on shoulders, being more energy efficient and  being able to travel further for longer. Safe turning techniques in confined spaces and using aids to assist with turning.  Flicking up front castors to negotiate small obstacles. Back wheel balancing. Mounting and descending kerbs assisted or unassisted. Negotiating thresholds. Safe slope ascent and descent. Managing rough terrain and different surfaces i.e. grass or gravel. Descending several steps at once.