Approximately 1.4 million people in the United States are wheelchair users. This means that around 1 in every 220 Americans relies on a wheelchair for mobility.
Among the conditions that lead to wheelchair use are
- spinal cord injuries;
- amputated legs;
- cerebral palsy;
- multiple sclerosis; and
- muscular dystrophy.
Other disorders that may affect movement - arthritis and osteoporosis, for example - can also result in wheelchair dependency.
Chairdex is a website about wheelchairs. We describe the types of chairs, the history of wheelchairs, and common accessories. There are many exciting developments in wheelchair design going on now. Wheelchair athletes have formed a thriving community and we also present resources for people who use wheelchairs. Further, we discuss the effect of the Americans with Disabilities Act on design of facilities to accomodate wheelchairs.
People who use wheelchairs face challenges not only in travel, but also in their everyday lives. Many buildings are not accessible, making it difficult or impossible to enter them and navigate within them from a wheelchair. Even buildings that are considered accessible may not actually be so for a wheelchair user. Ice, snow, and slush make it very hard to get around in a wheelchair without the user becoming wet and exhausted. Driving is feasible, but it poses challenges.
Increased awareness about disabilities along with architectural and technological
changes can lessen obstacles and make it easier for wheelchair users to
go about their daily lives. A recent
study found that when people get wheelchairs they become more social
and involved with other people.