Your second wheelchair team member will be a clinician or therapist. This person is usually an occupational therapist (OT) or physical therapist (PT). It is recommended he or she be certified as an assistive technology professional (ATP) or a seating and mobility specialist (SMS). You can search your area for a certified professional (see below).
Your doctor will likely refer you to a clinician who is a seating specialist for your Wheelchair Evaluation. However, you have a right to choose your OT or PT, so you do not have to use your doctor's referral.
To find an OT or PT on your own you can:
- Ask people you know for referrals
- Connect with organizations and support groups like Spinal Cord Central for referrals
- Search the Seating and Mobility Specialists' certification websites for qualified assistive technology professionals. More information about Assistive Technology Certification is below.
You will meet with your therapists after you meet with your doctor. Remember, the therapist will need a prescription from your doctor in order to complete the assessment with you. We review this process in greater detail in Chapter 3.
The clinician will conduct your Wheelchair Evaluation and Assessment in which they help you match your physical abilities and your lifestyle to specific features of a wheelchair. Usually, the clinician works closely with the medical equipment supplier during the evaluation. The details of a Wheelchair Evaluation and Assessment are in Chapter 3.
This process will include the following:
- Collecting information from you about your needs
- Learn about all facets of your life that affect your mobility including your home and work environments
- Assess you physically
- Work closely with the supplier to descide what equipment is best for you