Why did you reach out and ask for this wheelchair skills session?

I’ve recently started using a wheelchair and it can be intimidating to use independently. I want to learn all the skills I can to feel powerful and safe.

What skills have you learnt so far and what would you like to achieve?

I’ve been practising my back wheel balance (wheelies!!) I’ve got up to 35 seconds so far with the help of my support worker spotting me. Tipping the castors allows you to go over bumps which is fun to practice also. I learnt how to go up and down a step or kerb. 

How does it feel to achieve skills you thought you couldn’t do within a couple of hours?

I feel empowered and inspired. The classes really helped build my confidence.

How has learning these skills changed the way you get about in the community?

I’ve only been out a couple of times by myself in the wheelchair but I’m going to do it again today and looking forward to it. The wheelchair is a safe and active way to move around. I can already pull myself up the step at my front door.

How did you find the training?

I had a class with Josh and a class with Lynne. They were both fantastic teachers, so encouraging and practical. Doing wheelies and jumping steps was very fun. I learned heaps. It was nice to spend time with other people in wheelchairs. They both travel and lead full independent lives with their chairs which inspired me.

What advice would you give to other new wheelchair users?

Get all the skills you can and access other wheelchair specific activities. Through AQA I found out about the Dance’n’roll club (join us!) where I’m getting fun cardio, learning to twirl in my chair, and making connections. 

It takes a while to build the strength to go quickly on uneven ground. Hang in there, you will get better… even pros have to take breaks. You’ll learn how to do things others can’t, which feels empowering. Going up and down slopes independently can be a rush.

Would you recommend wheelchair skills training to other people?

The teachers are great. It can be intimidating to use a wheelchair but keep at it, you will improve over time and the classes definitely help. It’s possible to keep growing your skills and strength by using the wheelchair as a stable base of support.

  • June 13, 2024

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