Predictive model of proficiency in powered mobility of children and young adults with motor impairments

Naomi Gefen, Amihai Rigbi, Patrice L. Weiss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aim: To identify variables that can predict proficiency in powered mobility use for children in young adults. Method: Participants included 80 children and young adults (42 males, 38 females; mean age 10y 2mo, [SD 5y 1mo]; range: 2–22y) with cerebral palsy, neuromuscular disease, and spinal cord injury who participated in the ALYN Hospital Powered Mobility Lending Program from 2009 to 2016. Data were collected and compared before and after participation in the program and powered mobility levels were determined by the Israeli Ministry of Health (MOH) Powered Mobility Proficiency Test. Multivariate logistic regression analysis followed by a bootstrapping procedure that was based on 1000 samples were used to determine if the variables were predictive of success on the Israeli MOH Powered Mobility Proficiency Test. Results: Significant variables for predicting success were identified: manual wheelchair propulsion, go-stop voluntarily upon request, and using a joystick. The model was able to correctly identify 80% of the children. Interpretation: Children and young adults with the ability to go-stop upon request, propel a manual wheelchair short distances, and use a joystick to activate the powered wheelchair had a higher chance of becoming proficient. In countries where wheelchair proficiency is a requirement for powered wheelchair procurement, these findings may support policy changes, as they did in Israel. What this paper adds: Using powered wheelchairs offers children earlier and more natural practice to determine driving proficiency. Manual wheelchair propulsion, go-stop voluntarily upon request, and using a joystick were predictors of powered mobility proficiency. More than 80% of children use a joystick with their hand to activate a powered wheelchair.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1416-1422
Number of pages7
JournalDevelopmental Medicine and Child Neurology
Issue number12
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We would like to thank the children and their families that participated in the lending program and shared their experiences with us. We also thank Ms Sarina Goldstand for editorial assistance and Dr Michal Katz Leurer for her guidance on the research design. The lending program was made possible by ALYN Hospital, the Israel National Insurance, and Mr and Mrs John Blum from Zurich, Switzerland. The study was funded by ALYN Hospital. The authors have stated that they had no interests that might be perceived as posing a conflict or bias.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Mac Keith Press

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Clinical Neurology


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