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Wheelchair Skills Test
The WST 2.4 is freely available at Wheelchair Skills Test
Supplemental: Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) and SCI-Pediatric (age 6 and over)
Exploratory: SCI-Pediatric (under 6 years)
Short Description of Instrument
Construct measured: Activity, mobility
Generic vs. disease specific: Disease specific
Means of administration: Clinician-administered
Intended respondent: Participant
# of items: 50
# of subscales and names of sub-scales: 10 areas: brakes, armrests, footrests, rolling, turning, reaching, transfers, fold/open, obstacles, and wheelie
Comments/Special Instructions
Background: This test was developed to objectively measure manual wheelchair skills and safety. There are 50 items covering 10 areas: brakes, armrests, footrests, rolling, turning, reaching, transfers, fold/open, obstacles, and wheelie.
Scoring: Scoring is on a pass-fail basis (pass=2, pass with difficulty=1, fail=0, NP=not possible, TE=testing error). There is also an additional goal attainment score (GAS), for which the clinician indicates if the skill is a reasonable goal for the individual performing the test.
Strengths/Weaknesses: Limited to individuals who can push a manual wheelchair. A spotter is required for safety. The evaluator must be familiar with the test however, there are training manuals available. Appropriate for subacute and chronic.
SCI-Pediatric specific: Some items (reaching over head and reaching to the floor) may be difficult for smaller children or those in a higher wheelchair.
Psychometric Properties: There has been psychometric testing in the SCI population. Reliability is adequate to excellent (Pradon et al., 2012; Kirby et al., 2002). Validity is adequate to excellent (Pradon et al., 2012; Lemay et al., 2012; Kirby et al., 2002).
Kirby RL, Swuste J, Dupuis DJ, MacLeod DA, Monroe R. The Wheelchair Skills Test: a pilot study of a new outcome measure. Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2002;83(1):10-18.
Lemay V, Routhier F, Noreau L, Phang SH, Ginis KA. Relationships between wheelchair skills, wheelchair mobility and level of injury in individuals with spinal cord injury. Spinal Cord. 2012;50(1):37-41.
Pradon D, Pinsault N, Zory R, Routhier F. Could mobilty performance measures be used to evaluate wheelchair skills? J Rehabil Med. 2012;44(3):276-279.
Sawatzky B, Hers N, MacGillivray MK. Relationships between wheeling parameters and wheelchair skills in adults and children with SCI. Spinal Cord. 2015;53(7):561-564.
Sawatzky B, Rushton PW, Denison I, McDonald R. Wheelchair skills training programme for children: a pilot study. Aust Occup Ther J. 2012;59(1):2-9.


Document last updated June 2020