Service Standards

  • 110 service providers from 25 countries have received the ISWP Basic Wheelchair Service Provider Certification since its launch. Consider becoming an ISWP Certified Wheelchair Service Provider in 2021! (More information here.) The certification is based on the success of the ISWP Wheelchair Service Provision Basic test, available in 15 languages; 5,040 test attempts from 99 countries have taken the test since its launch.
  • ISWP led a comprehensive review of the Basic test with 7 sector stakeholders and 80 volunteers who provided feedback on proposed new test questions.  A study on the feasibility of offering a Basic wheelchair skills assessment was implemented, with a goal to offer as a complement to the ISWP Basic knowledge test.
  • The ISWP Wheelchair Service Provision Intermediate test (link) is available in 2 languages; 598 people from 24 countries have taken the test since its launch.
  • ISWP launched a series of online training modules based on the World Health Organization wheelchair service training packages for basic wheelchair service providers, trainers, managers and stakeholders (link). The launch was timely as many in the sector needed resources to support clients and students during the global pandemic.
  • Plans for a new Educators’ Package were developed. The package will be a guide to integrating wheelchair service provision education into professional rehabilitation academic programs and regional training centers across settings. Over 30 stakeholders from 21 countries are volunteering to develop the package.
  • ISWP entered into agreements with:  1) the World Health Organization and International Society of Prosthetics & Orthotics to develop wheelchair service standards; and 2) the National Disability Council of the Dominican Republic (CONADIS) and Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO) to conduct wheelchair service training and certification of providers and training of trainers.
  • Academic training partners met 3 times during the year to share barriers and facilitators to incorporating wheelchair service provision in university and training program curricula. 23 partners from 16 countries participate in the group (link). Interested in getting your academic program engaged with the group in 2021? Contact Krithika Kandavel, [email protected].

Product Standards and Testing

  • The ISWP caster testing technical specification was submitted to the International Standards Organization (ISO) for voting.  Jon Pearlman, ISWP Director, continues to be convener for ISO Working Group 1 of Subcommittee 1 under Technical Committee 173, which focuses on wheelchair quality testing standards.
  • A field study on rolling resistance testing demonstrated the harmful impact of 1-2 degrees of toe on a person’s ability to push a manual wheelchair.
  • Caster, Corrosion, and Whole Wheelchair Testing Standards were distributed to the sector.
  • ISWP continued to conduct product testing of casters and wheelchair tires for three manufacturers and organizations. Would you like to have more prototypes tested in 2021? Contact Anand Mhatre [email protected].

Evidence-based Practice

  • 4 papers on topics associated with ISWP initiatives were published.
  • In conjunction with the Inter‐university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR), of which Pitt is a member, ISWP continued to host an ISWP data series in the Archive of Data on Disability to Enable Policy and Research (ADDEP). Contact Megan D’Innocenzo, ISWP Clinical Coordinator, [email protected], with questions or for more information.
  • With UCP/Wheels for Humanity and a Google User’s Voice grant, the ISWP team completed a study of wheelchair use in El Salvador.

Communication and Sector Collaboration

  • ISWP staff and representatives presented at 11 wheelchair and assistive technology conferences worldwide to raise awareness of ISWP and the need for appropriate wheelchair service and provision.
  • A ten-member Forming Committee, comprised of leaders from across the sector, was established to develop a plan for ISWP to become a separate entity outside of the university.  Working with an outside consultant, the Forming Committee reached consensus on items including organizational structure, Board composition, governance policies and procedures, membership, and revenue models.  A thirteen-member Founding Board, which was created based on the Forming Committee and ISWP Advisory Board recommendations, will work with ISWP to implement the rollout plan.
  • ISWP provided wheelchair sector news through The Hub newsletter (4 issues) and social media, reaching 111,000 followers on Facebook. (Sign up here to receive the newsletter.)

Future Plans: The organization currently is funded through a continuing grant from USAID, which works to spread the mission of the United States internationally. Future plans include establishing ISWP as a standalone organization within the next year.