Kentucky's Office for the
Americans with Disabilities Act

Kentucky ADA logo and link to ADA home page

Mobility Impairment

To date, there are approximately 8 million Americans who have some type of mobility impairment that necessitates the use of adaptive equipment such as a cane, crutches, walker, wheelchair, or scooter. A person with a mobility impairment simply uses different ways to get around. Often times, assistive devices help him or her overcome mobility obstacles. Mobility impairments may result from a number of different medical conditions, such as multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, spina bifida, diabetes, muscular dystrophy, and paraplegia. Temporary impairments, like broken legs, can also result in mobility impairments.

(From: "Those of Us DisLabeled: A Guide to Awareness and Understanding", University of Kentucky Human Development Institute, Cooperative Extension Service)

Accommodations/Special Considerations:

  • Always ask the person if he or she would like assistance before you help. Your help may not be needed or wanted.
  • Talk directly to the person in the wheelchair rather than to someone with him. A person in a wheelchair is perfectly capable of talking for himself.
  • When possible, sit down so you are on eye level with the person in the wheelchair.
  • Push a wheelchair only after asking the person if assistance is needed.
  • When assisting someone in a wheelchair over a curb, ask if the person prefers to go forward or backward.
  • In guiding a wheelchair down an incline, hold the push handles to ensure that the chair does not go too fast.
  • Learn the location of wheelchair ramps, restrooms, elevators, and telephones.
  • For more than one stair step, keep the wheelchair tilted back while going up or down.
  • Remember that a wheelchair is an expensive piece of equipment. Do not treat it with extreme roughness.
  • Don't hang or lean on a person's wheelchair, which the person often considers part of their body space. You probably not lean on a person's shoulder, so do not lean on someone's wheelchair.

For More Information:

New Mobility Magazine is a good source to learn more about mobility impairments. They can be reached either via Internet ( or by phone at (310) 317-4522.


 Back to the disabilities definitions page.


We welcome your feedback! Please contact us for questions or comments about this site.

Contact Us
Education Cabinet and Workforce Development Cabinet
300 Sower Blvd., 4th Floor
Frankfort, KY 40601
Phone: 502-564-3850

TDD 711
Fax: 502-564-23

Kentucky Education Cabinet