I had the privilege to present with a group of colleagues on Dynamic Seating at the International Seating Symposium last year. One of my co-presenters was Suzanne Eason, OT/L who works at St. Mary’s Home in Virginia. Suzanne is very interested in the impact of movement on brain development. I recently had a conversation with my friend.
Phillip is a mover and a shaker – literally! This adult with developmental disabilities likes to move. He lives at a residential facility in Delaware. Years of rocking in his manual wheelchairs have left a trail of destruction. He has broken seating systems, mounting hardware, and wheelchair frames as a result of repeated and often strong movements. Phillip is currently using a tilt in space manual wheelchair with a linear back and an off-the-shelf cushion. When he rocks, he tends to move the entire chair across the room, so the staff lock the wheels. The result? He rocks with such force that the solid tires have repeatedly broken where they contact the wheel locks!
Our last blog discussed how dynamic seating can provide vestibular input for clients. Vestibular input can, in turn, calm agitated clients and help sub-aroused clients be more alert. Movement can also increase comfort and general muscle activity.
Dynamic Seating moves in response to client forces. Many clients move, not due to increased extensor tone, but rather for the explicit purpose of moving. We all tend to seek out movement. We are wired to move and movement has so many benefits. Movement can calm, arouse, work muscles and provide comfort by varying our position. From a sensory standpoint, movement provides vestibular input.