Development of a universal wheeled mobility skills test for manual wheelchair users with a spinal cord injury

  • Osnat Douer, MSc (Researcher)
  • Yves Vanlandewijck (Project leader)
  • Lucas van der Woude, PhD (Project leader)

This project is a collaboration of the Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, KU Leuven and the Center for Human Movement Sciences, University of Groningen The Netherland. It aims to develop a universal wheeled mobility skills test for hand rim wheelchair users with a SCI in order to establish norms and standards for wheelchair skill performances.

This instrument should measure the level of well-selected wheelchair skills performance, be methodologically strong and practically feasible. The main research question is: which skills, scale and equipment should comprise a universal wheelchair skills test that is valid, sensitive and reliable, aimed for fast and easy screening, differentiating between a wide range of performance levels of hand-rim wheelchair users with a SCI? The set up of the new universal WM skills test is based on a) the primary definition chosen for wheeled mobility and wheelchair skill performances; b) a systematic critical literature review of available wheeled mobility skill test enabling to develop the standardized wheelchair skills test, relying on the strengths of existing measurement tools, to define ‘a good and quality WM skills test for a wide range of mobility levels’; c) an international survey among trained manual wheelchair users with SCI on wheelchair skills essentiality where they choose the most essential skills that may be included in the standardized wheelchair skills test to be developed in this study; d) An "expert group" for discussions, planning and piloting the new wheeled mobility skill tests. The selection of these experts is based on a Self-efficacy in wheeled mobility scale scores among wheelchair users with a SCI throughout Belgium. This self-efficacy scale was developed in the current study as well; e) Performing a cross-sectional study measuring actual performance of the universal wheeled mobility skills test among wheelchair users with a SCI to test the validity and reliability of the standardized wheelchair skills test developed in this study.

Osnat Fliess-Douer is a PhD student at the Faculty of Kinesiology and Rehabilitation Sciences at KU Leuven, Belgium where she also graduated the EMDAPA program in 1998. Osnat is the director of the Hydrotherapy courses at Wingate college in Israel. Between 2003 and 2007 she was a lecturer at Bar –Ilan University. Osnat owns a hydrotherapy center called MultiPool, in the town of Binyamina. She is a certified Jahara® aquatic technique teacher. Out of the water Osnat is a wheelchair basketball coach and classifier. Between2007-2009 she was the coach of the Israeli women wheelchair basketball team. Osnat is a member of the IPC (International Paralympic Committee) Sport Science Committee.

Downloads for the Self-Efficacy in Wheeled Mobility scale (SEWM)

  • Dutch SEWM
  • English SEWM
  • French SEWM
  • Hebrew SEWM
  • Spanish SEWM
  • List of daily wheeled mobility skills sorted by level of essentially
  • Downloads for the TOWM and Wheelie
  • Protocols for Test Of Wheeled Mobility (TOWM) and the Wheelie test




  • A systematic review of wheelchair skills tests for manual wheelchair users with a spinal cord injury: Towards a standardized outcome measure. Fliess-Douer O, Vanlandewijck, YC, Lubel Manor G, van der Woude LH. Clinical Rehabilitation, 24: 867–886, 2010.
  • Development of a new scale for percieved self-efficacy in manual wheeled mobility – A pilot study. Fliess-Douer O, van der Woude LH. Vanlandewijck, YC. Journal of rehabilitation medicine. 43(7), 602-8, 2011.
  • Most essential wheeled mobility skills for daily life: an international survey among paralympic wheelchair athletes with spinal cord injury. Fliess-Douer O, Vanlandewijck YC, Van der Woude LH. Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2012; 93(4): 629-35.
  • Reliability and validity of perceived self-efficacy in wheeled mobility scale among elite wheelchair-dependent athletes with a spinal cord injury. Fliess-Douer O, Vanlandewijck YC, Van der Woude LH. Disabil Rehabil. 2012.
  • Reliability of the test of wheeled mobility (TOWM) and the short wheelie test. Fliess-Douer O, Van der Woude LH, Vanlandewijck YC. Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2013; 94(4): 761-70.
  • Test of wheeled mobility (TOWM) and a short wheelie test: a feasibility and validity study. Fliess-Douer O, Van der Woude LH, Vanlandewijck YC. Clin Rehabil. 2013.
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