Students who are Wheelchair Users


A wheelchair user is an individual who chooses to use a wheelchair as their primary accommodation in order to participate or maximize participation in physical activity. They may be unable to walk or weight-bear for varying lengths of time and may use a wheelchair for partial mobility, full mobility, or for a sport or designated wheelchair activity. 


Self-propelling manual wheelchair user, attendant pushed manual wheelchair user, power wheelchair user (driving independently and/or with assistance from attendant), sports wheelchairs (e.g., basketball wheelchairs, rugby wheelchairs, track wheelchairs) 

Instructional Accommodation Examples

  • Ensure instructional tools are at an appropriate height level for students using wheelchair and/or mobility devices (e.g., whiteboards, anchor charts). 
  • Provide a variety of opportunities for the student to communicate with their teacher, whole group, and peers (e.g., multiple ways for the student to identify that they would like to answer a question if raising their hand is difficult). 
  • Use preferred seating and proximity (e.g., position the student at the front of the group to limit obstructions to their view, position students in a semi-circle so everyone can see). 
  • Provide instruction and modeling of a skill or task in a variety of ways (e.g., demonstrate a skill from a seated and standing position). 
  • Provide different contexts for the student to transfer their knowledge in different ways (e.g., reduce the size of the “court” for badminton so a student does not have to cover as much space, but still has to hit the shuttlecock over the net). 
  • Modify rules to reduce lateral movement as changing directions is a two-step process for students moving in a wheelchair (e.g., when playing in a game that requires the student to bounce the object, allow an extra bounce, in table tennis allowing shots off the end of the table with the sides of the table being out of bounds). 

Environmental Accommodation Examples

  • Remove physical barriers within the playing area to promote a flow of movement (e.g., unused pieces of equipment within the playing area).  
  • Ensure that all equipment and materials are physically accessible (e.g., bins of equipment reachable from their device at waist level, modify target heights/sizes). 
  • Create designated rules and boundaries to maximize participation for all students while considering the safety of the student in a wheelchair (e.g., when playing tag games, students can use an implement to tag). 
  • Provide a variety of equipment when using objects to send and receive (e.g., lighter and smaller balls to increase chances of success). 
  • Ensure the playing area is physically accessible (e.g., a flat pavement or gymnasium floor without obstructions). 
  • Ensure that boundaries allow for safe play and space to stop safely (e.g., increase the out of bounds space to give an individual time to stop. Create lanes inside the basketball court with individuals moving up and down “outside” lanes and individuals pushing up and down a “center” lane.). 

Assessment Accommodation Examples

  • Share the student-specific learning goals that are being assessed with the student and co-create the success criteria (e.g., allowing the student to choose equipment that works best for them to demonstrate the task). 
  • Provide multiple opportunities for the student to demonstrate the skill in different ways (e.g., take a picture of someone who is demonstrating the learning goal, have the student describe how they can best execute the skill). 
  • Provide a range of tasks related to the learning goal(s) that are being assessed to provide student choice for how they can best demonstrate their learning (e.g., set up mini-games within the learning space that the student can rotate through that provides sufficient space for all players to maneuver to be successful). 

Learn more about supporting students who are wheelchair users: