Seating and Positioning
Why is a seating and positioning evaluation necessary?
Positioning On Purpose: Our comprehensive seating and positioning evaluations provide the opportunity for the client and our experienced seating clinicians to determine the type of equipment or technology that will best meet the individual's needs in terms of function, comfort, and orthopedic support. Occupational and physical therapists begin the evaluation with a client interview to acquire relevant background information that will be important in equipment selection. A review of current equipment is completed to determine what types of equipment have worked well or not so well for the individual. The physical mat examination helps determine the client's postural needs and the optimal supports necessary to achieve seating and positioning goals. Exact measures are taken and a measuring chair is utilized to insure accuracy of fit. The equipment supplier is often present during the evaluation process to help determine the final product recommendations. All of these steps are necessary to insure that each component of the wheelchair is selected with the purpose of supporting the client's very individual positioning needs.
The evaluation process continues at the time of the wheelchair fitting when therapists and technicians are present to fine tune the fit of the prescribed system. Follow up visits are also important to address equipment needs that may arise with growth, health, or functional changes.
Children's Care's approach to the comprehensive seating and positioning evaluation ensures that the wheelchair is selected and customized to fit the client's needs rather than trying to fit the client into any standard wheelchair.
What is an ATP and What are the benefits of having an ATP participate in my (or my child's) seating evaluation?
ATP stands for Assistive Technology Practitioner and is an advanced certification for OTs, PTs, and STs who have significant experience in working with technology such as wheelchairs, standers, walkers, communication devices, and self care devices etc. Therapists with the ATP certification have passed a written examination related to assistive technology and are required to participate in yearly trainings to update knowledge and skills.
Having an ATP perform an equipment evaluation can be another step in helping to insure that your needs will be addressed and reflected in the equipment selected.
What are the benefits of power mobility training?
Studies have shown that children and individuals with physical disabilities who are given the opportunity to experience self initiated movement often gain benefits in the areas of cognition, self esteem, and environmental awareness. Just as a 9 month old learns about his environment through rolling, crawling, cruising, and climbing, a child with physical disabilities can learn about the world around them when given the opportunity to move for themselves. For some children with disabilities this learning experience can be "taught" with opportunities for movement in a power wheelchair.
Power wheelchairs can cost anywhere from $5000 to $30,000, so purchase of this sort of device is not something to be taken lightly. Our trained OTs and PTs have knowledge of different ways to drive a power wheelchair to allow children and adults of all abilities access to power mobility. Some may use a standard joystick while others may use their head to access switches. Just as toddlers take several months to become established walkers, mastering power mobility skills takes time and practice as well. Our therapists will provide a practice power chair that supports the individual's postural needs for optimal function and ability to access power controls. Power mobility training sessions are offered as individual training sessions or through a power mobility camp where new drivers can practice skills with a small group of peers. Training sessions can continue until the driver achieves the desired level of independence and the most appropriate driving system is determined through a comprehensive seating evaluation.