Talking at Eye Level


Manual Standing Wheelchair

Posted By Sheila Burt & Ann Barlow


Approximately 1.7 million Americans use wheelchairs or scooters for mobility, and most (90%) use manual wheelchairs rather than powered devices. Currently, manual wheelchairs provide the user with mobility in a seated position; however, there are many compelling reasons for enabling wheelchair users to stand.

Functional benefits include a raised and enlarged workspace, allowing access to kitchen counters and appliances; easy access to overhead cabinets or grocery store shelves; and increased independence, potentially enhancing employment and leisure opportunities.

Physical benefits include a reduced risk of osteoporosis, muscle spasticity, and contractures; improved cardiovascular, digestive, and renal function; and relief or prevention of pressure sores.

Perhaps equally important are the psychological benefits of standing—being able to interact with others eye-to-eye, instead of always having to look up at everyone.

Upcoming Study


We are currently conducting phone screenings for an upcoming study that will compare your own personal wheelchair to the Manual Standing Wheelchair (MSW). We will investigate the potential advantages of using the MSW in different settings versus your personal device. The study will involve 3-4 sessions, which will include training and fitting of the device and performing a series of functional mobility tasks.

In order to participate in the study, you must have a spinal cord injury and currently be an independent manual wheelchair user. For further information, please contact: Saninder Kaur, MD (, T: 312-238-2288) or Lori McGee-Koch (, T: 312-238-2091).

Media Coverage


The contents of this webpage were developed under a grant from the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR grant number 90RE5014-02-00). NIDILRR is a Center within the Administration for Community Living (ACL), Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The contents of this webpage do not necessarily represent the policy of NIDILRR, ACL, HHS, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government.

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