POSITIONING for EDUCATION Successful Positioning for Students Using Wheelchairs

Successful Positioning for Students Using Wheelchairs
Students with physical disabilities have various needs that are unique to each individual.
All of the components of a wheelchair are specifically ordered by a team of professionals to meet a
student’s particular needs. It is extremely important that students are seated in their wheelchairs
properly to minimize deformities and to maximize function.
School OTs and PTs will instruct classroom staff in proper positioning of each individual student.
Guidelines for Proper Wheelchair
1. Place student’s pelvis all the way back
on the seat so that the back of the pelvis is
touching the back of the wheelchair.
2. Make sure that student’s pelvis is level
(one side not higher than the other) and is
not rotated (one side more forward than
the other).
3. Hold one hand across student’s pelvis to
prevent student from moving and then
fasten the pelvic positioning strap (seat
belt). Tighten the strap as snugly as
possible. Lean student forward to make
sure that the student’s pelvis is against the
back of the wheelchair.
4. Place student’s feet flat on the footplates
and hook the ankle straps as firmly as
possible (if present).
5. Attach the anterior chest support (if
present) by securing the bottom straps first
then fasten the top straps. Make sure that
the anterior chest support does not come
close to the student’s neck.
Power Wheelchair
Once the wheelchair is positioned at tables/desks, a manual
wheelchair must have the brakes (wheel locks) applied and
a power wheelchair must have the power turned off to keep
the wheelchair from moving.
Physical Therapy Services
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools – Programs for Exceptional Children – July 2008
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