Saturday, September 28, 2013

Wheelchair Training Course by Latter-day Saint Charities

Going to Kota Bahru for the first time was special. To top it all, being there to participate in a wheelchair training course and to meet up, also for the first time with fellow Rotarians at Rotary Club Kota Bahru made up many swell moments.

25 participants attended the workshop; the majority came from Kota Bahru. My friend, Pearl and I flew in from Kuala Lumpur.Our dedicated instructors, led by physical therapist, Kim Brown of  Latter-day Saint Charities, all the way from Salt Lake City, Utah, USA did an excellent job imparting his expertise. The entire workshop was dutifully translated into Bahasa Malaysia by Suki, our Malaysian physiotherapist and Yana.

We learned the A,B,Cs of  wheelchairs - descriptions of the the different components  and how to guide first -time users. There were wheelchairs - standard and rough rider to give away and a major part of the course detailed assessing the potential user to give a wheelchair. Upon being credited as suitable, the user or caregiver is taught how to ride, open doors, go up and down steps assisted, safety tips etc.

A wheelchair is a tool and a machine.It is gratifying to know that with giving  a wheelchair away, lives are changed. Mobility is enhanced, coping better with physical impediments, providing invaluable aid to caregivers, enabling greater self-esteem are some outcomes. All the more so, being well -trained to have more in-depth knowledge about wheelchairs and end -users is of utmost importance.

The day of reckoning came when the instructors stepped back for the students to apply their newly -acquired expertise. 30 odd locals came in anticipation with their families/caregivers to be assessed.

Needless to say, it was a memorable goodbye to each and every new recipient of the wheelchairs. To be able to ride home in comfort and tackle each day, through thick and thin. As for the students who proudly wore the tees with a new designation of Wheelchair Specialist, it was not only worthwhile time spent but humbling to be part of the great teaching and interaction of Latter-day Saint Charities' humanitarian outreach.

Gaye Brown  showing the parts of a wheelchair and recognizing their functions.

Chart shows the ideal posture of 90/90/90 degrees.

Gaye Brown showing how to safely  transfer  a wheelchair user .
Participant practising the correct way to measure  for the suitable size for the wheelchair user.

Kim Brown, physical therapist emphasizing  the importance of  correct measurement for a correct size of wheelchair  for the user. 4 Teams measured 4 persons - some  results showed variations.
Participant learning  the slide test to ensure the wheelchair is a good fit for the user.
Wheelchair cushion  being cut to fit the size of the wheelchairs which come in 12, 14, 16, 18 and 20 inches
Out with the wrenches which were given to every participant  to assemble the wheelchairs.

Assembling a rough rider - team work at its best.

One of the potential recipients for a wheelchair wheeled in for assessing.

History taking , noting any  'red flags' .
A happy participant of the 3 day course.

Proud to be a student of Kim Brown ( rt) and Robert Howell  (LDS Humanitarian Director) of Latter-day Saint Charities

It's a happy, satisfying  culmination of a 3 day course -  participants with their instructors. 


  1. Never heard of this type of workshop. Very humbling and useful.

  2. What an enlightening and helpful workshop, Keats. You are right -- the entire world changes for a mobility-challenged individual who receives the gift of a wheelchair.


Great to have you popping in!