Education Courses

You play an important role in ensuring your clients have the right equipment that’s fitted best to their needs, their conditions and their lifestyle. The Permobil Academy exists to give you the support and guidance you need to be the best possible resource for your clients. In addition to the courses offered below we can tailor learning modules on topics you need.

In person or online training is available. Contact Rachel for more information email or Tel 021 246 1099



Introduction to Power Mobility   

Course Overview:
Are you new to prescribing power wheelchairs?  Or want to know more about drive wheel configuration or when to recommend power seat functions?  

This workshop provides an introduction to power wheelchairs – what we need to consider in our assessment, what the differences are between the different drive wheel configurations and an overview of power seat functions.  

By the end of the workshop, participants will be able to:   

  • Utilise the ICF model to identify three indications that a person may need a power wheelchair.
  • Compare three clinically relevant differences among front, mid, and rear-wheel drive power wheelchairs.
  • Analyse how five different power seat functions are used in everyday life for health, function and participation. 
  • Discuss two potential training techniques to allow for initiation of power mobility and power seat function utilisation. 
Course Level: Beginner - Intermediate
Course Duration: Two hours 

Introduction to Scripted Manual Wheelchairs 

Course Overview:
Are you new to prescribing manual wheelchairs?  Or want to know how to prescribe more than a basic manual wheelchair? 

This presentation / workshop provides an introduction to scripted manual wheelchairs – who may benefit from a scripted manual chair, how we measure for a scripted chair and what factors influence efficiency of self-propelling.

By the end of the presentation, participants will be able to:  

  • Describe three indications a person may need an assessment for a scripted manual wheelchair.
  • Discuss three clinical justifications for selecting a rigid manual wheelchair versus a folding manual wheelchair.
  • Explain two adjustments to the configuration of the manual wheelchair as it relates to shoulder injury prevention. 
  • Identify three reasons related to health, function or participation that a client may benefit from a manual wheelchair with a power assist device.   
Course Level: Beginner - Intermediate 
Course Duration: Two hours 

Introduction to Seating and Positioning: Part 1

Course Overview:
Are you lost in the world of back supports and cushions? Not sure what product to recommend when?  Or want to know when a person may require more than a basic back support or cushion? 

This workshop provides an introduction to seating and positioning – looking at where to start with your assessment, how to identify any musculoskeletal changes and how these changes may impact on a person’s seating and positioning requirements.  

This workshop will include an introduction to the MAT (Mechanical Assessment Tool) assessment and how the MAT can assist with product selection. 

By the end of the presentation, participants will be able to:

  • Utilise the ICF model to identify two situations when seating and positioning should be evaluated. 
  • Identify three postural limitations that can impact your choice of seating and positioning products.
  • Discuss two examples of how seating and positioning products can inhibit or improve patient function within their mobility system.
  • Describe standard seating and mobility measurements as they apply to seating and positioning.  
Course Level: Beginner 
Course Duration: Two hours

Introduction to Seating and Positioning: Part 2

Course Overview:
Continuing on from our first workshop, we look further into the MAT Assessment and how to identify musculoskeletal changes and how these impact on our use of back supports and cushions. 

This workshop will focus on assessment of the pelvis and spine, how to identify reducible and non-reducible changes and how some of these changes may be managed with use of seating products.   

By the end of the presentation, participants will be able to:

  • Identify the difference between reducible and non-reducible postures.
  • Understand how to use the MAT Assessment to assist with prescription of seating products.
  • Understand how to correct a reducible pelvic tilt and manage a mild thoracic kyphosis.
  • Understand the influence of posture and use of positioning products on a person’s function. 
Course Level: Beginner - Intermediate
Course Duration: Two hours 

Material Matters: The Substance and Design of Complex Manual Wheelchairs
Course Overview:
Complex manual wheelchairs are sophisticated in their design and how they are manufactured, with the final result intended to be a robust solution that maximises a person's mobility and independence. 

With complex manual wheelchairs we have a number of options – aluminium, titanium or carbon fibre frame materials with mono-tube or dual-tube design, how do we know which options are going to best meet a person’s needs? 

In this presentation will explore the different frame materials used in manufacturing and the qualities that each material offers, such as durability and vibration dampening.  We will explore the different design features of complex manual wheelchairs and the impact this has on the end users, including the addition of accessories.

By the end of the presentation, participants will be able to:

  • Compare three materials and the effect the materials have on weight, durability, longevity and vibration.
  • Recognise how three materials used in making individually configured manual wheelchairs effect daily function utilising the ICF model.
  • Describe the importance of wheelchair components in relation to weight and propulsion efficiency.
Course Level: Intermediate - Advanced
Course Duration: One hour

Material Matters: The Substance and Design of Complex Power Wheelchairs

Course Description:

Power wheelchairs are a complex piece of equipment, made up of multiple components that each influence the overall performance of the chair.   As clinicians, we are typically taught how to manage the power wheelchair user’s needs, but not so much about power wheelchair itself – this can make it challenging to identify what features we need a power wheelchair to have and hence identify which chair we would like to trial.

This intermediate level webinar looks in depth into the crucial components of power wheelchairs and the clinical significance of these. 

We will discuss power wheelchair components such as:

  • Motors and gearboxes.
  • Suspension and tyres.
  • Batteries and electronics.
  • Actuators for power seat functions.
Course Level: Intermediate
Course Duration:  One hour 

Material Matters: The Substance and Design of Seating Components  
Course Overview:  
There are a number of different seating products available on the market, made from different materials and of different designs, and identifying which product we want to trial can be a challenge.   Many of us are guilty of simply choosing the products we know, without giving much thought to what the product is made from or how it is designed. 

The design of a back support or cushion and the materials that are used to fabricate it have a direct impact on how well it will meet a person’s postural support and pressure care needs, understanding these features can help us identify which product will best meet a person’s needs. 

This one-hour session will look at the materials used to fabricate back supports and cushions and what impact these have on the end user, helping to gain a better understanding of how to match strategies for pressure management and postural stability, client presentation and product performance characteristics.  

By the end of the presentation, participants will be able to:   

  • State at least two types of forces applied to a body depending on the type of material and design of a cushion. 
  • Recognize clinical significance of applied forces to the body related to the design and materials used in construction of seating components. 
  • Articulate three types of changes in client condition/function and how to optimize outcomes through seating materials and design selection. 
  • Predict two aspects of how to apply clinical/best practice guidelines to achieve optimal pressure management and positioning outcomes with seating components.  
Course Level:  Beginner - Intermediate 
Course Duration:   One hour

Maximising Mischief: Mobility Options for Children and Young People

Course Overview:

They say that play is the work of children, however some children do not have sufficient mobility to engage in play opportunities easily.  Children require access to self-directed mobility to optimise their cognitive, perceptual, social and motor development, with access to the right mobility device being essential to achieving this.

This workshop will cover mobility considerations for toddlers aged from one year, pre-schoolers and school aged children.  Content covered includes:

  • Evidence to support the benefits of self-directed mobility for children.
  • What we need to consider when choosing a mobility option - balancing function, development and posture.
  • What training techniques can be used to aid in a successful outcome?
  • What information is important when talking to parents/caregivers, funding bodies and the wider team.
Course Level: Beginner - Intermediate
Course Duration: Two hours 

Powering Up: Successful Use of Power Assist Devices

Course Overview:

Power assist devices are a useful option for manual wheelchair users to maximise their mobility in and around their home and out in the community.  However, there are now a number of power assist options available in the New Zealand market, and how do we identify which option will best meet a person’s needs? 

In this workshop we will look at the different power assist options, exploring the benefits and challenges of each.  We will work through what information is needed from an assessment, potential clinical reasoning strategies and how this relates to identifying the most appropriate device for trial.  As part of this process, we will also explore when a power wheelchair may be considered more appropriate than a power assist device. 

This workshop also includes a practical component with hands on time with the Permobil range of power assist devices.

Course Level: Intermediate
Course Duration: Two hours

Pressure Injuries: What do we need to know when prescribing wheelchair and seating? 

Course Overview: 

Do you consider a person’s risk of pressure injury when prescribing wheelchair and seating products?  Are you aware of the risk factors that further increase a person’s risk?

This workshop looks at the NPIAP Prevention and Treatment of Pressure Injuries: Clinical Practice Guideline 2019 and how these recommendations relate to wheelchair and seating prescription.  We will review what factors increase a person’s risk of developing a pressure injury, the different types of support surfaces available and how we may apply these. 

This workshop will finish with hands on time with a range of different support surfaces, with a particular focus on ROHO products.

By the end of the presentation, participants will be able to: 

  • Identify intrinsic and extrinsic risk factors for developing a pressure injury.
  • Identify areas of the body at risk of developing a pressure injury in lying and sitting.
  • Understand the difference between off-loading, immersion and envelopment in the use of support surfaces.
  • Understand how to set up a ROHO product and the recommended ongoing care and maintenance.
Course Level: Beginner
Course Duration: One hour 

Seating and Mobility Solutions for Older Adults

Course Overview:

Wheelchair and seating needs for older adults can differ from the general population due to changes associated with aging or other health issues.  These changes can further exacerbate mobility and safety issues, impacting on what solutions may be appropriate and what training needs to be provided.

This course will provide an overview of seating and mobility considerations for this population, including common presentations such as Cerebral Vascular Accident (CVA) and amputees.  We will review what wheelchair skills training techniques can be used to promote effective and safe use of the device, and to ensure the person (and potential caregivers) have a good understanding of their equipment.  This will include strategies for optimal outcomes in seating, driving, and power seat function utilisation. 

Clinical evidence and case examples will be utilised to demonstrate best practice for seating and mobility solutions for this population. A variety of client presentations and equipment choices will be discussed, highlighting the process leading to equipment recommendation, justification, and training by the team.

Course Level: Beginner - Intermediate
Course Duration: Two hours

The Why and How of Modular Seating Options

Course Overview:

Providing seating for people with non-reducible musculoskeletal changes can be a challenge.  Do we customise a standard ‘off the shelf’ option?  Or do we look at a modular option?  When do we need to consider custom fabrication?

We will explore the benefits and challenges of these different seating options, including what product features to look for when selecting items to trial.

The workshop will explore seating options for those with more challenging postural support needs, such as:

  • Spinal scoliosis and/or kyphosis
  • Pelvic obliquity and/or rotation
  • ‘Wind-sweeping’
  • Reduced hip flexion
  • Leg length discrepancy 
Course Level: Intermediate - Advanced 
Course Duration: Two hours